It has been another wonderful year for our Foster Grandparent Program! Therefore, this year’s recent Christmas program was the perfect opportunity for participants to reflect on the major impact that the program has had on them all. Volunteers, teachers and students alike, presented personal letters and awards to celebrate the volunteers and their memorable experiences. One touching letter, tells the story of one special Foster Grandparent, Grandma Annie*:
“Every day in the Foster Grandparent Program brings a new challenge or a new success. Sometimes, it is the small moments that will stay with us and serve as a reminder of our program’s impact. Grandma Annie is a very special Foster Grandparent who spends all of her free time helping children. When Grandma Annie is not mentoring and tutoring children all day through our program, she is helping the kids at her church and making special homemade crafts for children that she knows will not receive much for the holidays, birthdays, etc. throughout the year. Grandma Annie does so much for children and others in need that it is hard to believe that she is making ends meet on less than $7,000 a year. This year has been especially difficult for Grandma Annie. She had a very serious health issue that caused her to spend over a month in the hospital and on top of the health issues; she was no longer able to afford to live in her trailer that she has lived in for years. There were many conversations between Foster Grandparent program staff and Grandma Annie, where she cried and contemplated giving up. One day, while she was in the hospital, she had a special delivery from the children at the school where she serves as a Foster Grandparent. Grandma Annie received over 100 handmade cards from the children at this Springfield school. Grandma Annie has overcome this difficult time, she is feeling better, located housing and is back to working with children at her school. Just this month, fighting through tears, Grandma Annie shared with our group about how she overcame such a difficult time in her life. She cried and said that she read those cards over and over again in the hospital and it was the one thing that told her she needed to get healthy and not give up. Grandma Annie explained that the Foster Grandparent program is her purpose and she knows that it has saved her life. There are many successes that our program could share in regards to the impact that this program has on the lives of our seniors, but these are the types of special moments that truly help people see beyond the poverty, health issues and daily challenges and instead gives them the happiness and motivation to keep going.”
The students also presented a special gift to Foster Grandparent, Grandma Mary. They made her a “math quilt”, which displayed special messages and math problems that they have solved due to all the time that she dedicated to helping them with their math.
We’re very excited to continue making unforgettable memories with the Foster Grandparent Program in 2015!