Ogden has been chosen as one of 18 cities nationwide, including Los Angeles and Chicago, to participate in a federally funded program using senior citizens to watch so-called "latchkey" children.
The word latchkey has come to mean school-age children who are left unattended at home because their parents have to work.The $5,000 grant, to be funneled through Weber County, comes from ACTION, the federal agency that funds organizations like the Peace Corps and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program.
Pam Rogers, Weber County's RSVP program coordinator, said senior volunteers are working with children each Wednesday from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at the Weber County Library.
The free program got under way last Wednesday. Blythe Ogilvie, the children's librarian, said 15 youths participated in the program, which featured a U.S. Forest Service videotape on the Yellowstone fires. Two RSVP volunteers staffed the event.
Rogers said the county hopes "Partnerships - A Latchkey Program," will be established on a daily basis and extended to the library's satellite branches in Roy and North Ogden.
The program will include guest speakers and educational activities for children, in addition to promoting socialization between the two generations.
Rogers said Utah has more than 400,000 children in public schools. Seventy percent of women with school-age children work, she said.