Sunday, January 15, 2006

Green Thumb Program

The Green Thumb Program, along with Foster Grandparents and other government sponsored projects, was designed to enhance the quality of life of older people by encouraging their participation in worthwhile community services. It has given several hundred thousands of older workers opportunities to earn and contribute to the well-being of their communities. The program was created as a result of the Equal Opportunity Bill of 1965 and was spearheaded by the National Farmers Union. To be eligible for the Green Thumb Program a person must be 55 years of age or older and be economically disadvantaged. The program is now under the direction of the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP).
Participants have to come from rural districts. Their tasks have included beautifying parks and roadside areas, working as seamstresses, and performing clerical duties and relief work. They usually work 20 hours per week, with a limit of 1,300 hours yearly, normally at the minimum wage. Most of the job openings are with nonprofit organizations, but private businesses have participated with increasing frequency in recent years. Congressional hearings held in 1988 recognized the strong bipartisan support for the program and the increasing appropriations- from $10,000 in 1974 to $343,000 in 1988-that have followed upon its success.
House of Representatives, Select Committee on Aging. The Senior Community Service Program: Its History and Evolution. Comm. Pub. No. 100-695. December, 1988. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1989.
Wallworth, J. "New Adventures for Seniors in World of Work," in Aging, Goldstein, E. C., ed., Vol. 1, Art. 67. Boca Raton, Fl.: Social Issues Resource Series, Inc., 1981.

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