Celebrating Our Foster Grandparents

Foster Grandparents are incredible people. Through AmeriCorps, a national service organization, they volunteer a year of their time to serve the nation and their communities. Volunteers in the AmeriCorps Foster Grandparent Program are seniors aged 55 and older who serve as mentors, tutors, and caregivers for children and youth with special and exceptional needs.

Our Foster Grandparents provide extra support to our Head Start program by ensuring that children are surrounded by loving adults and caring role models who can help them meet their academic, social, and emotional development needs. Children living in poverty endure higher levels of stress and deprivation than their more affluent peers, which can hinder their health and growth for years to come. The work our Foster Grandparents do is critical. They help to build the protective factors Head Start children and families need to combat the effects of poverty.

In March, we celebrated our Foster Grandparents with a Golden Prom, a night of music, dancing, inspiration, food, and fellowship. The Council’s Volunteer Services Coordinator, Marishia Hamilton, said, “The Golden Prom is a way for us to acknowledge the work they do and the support they provide. We wanted to show them our deep appreciation for all the ways they serve and thank them.”

Marishia and the Volunteer Services Advisory Committee worked with local businesses and organizations to make the evening special. “We had so many people who stepped up to offer gifts, food, everything we needed. It was wonderful to see so many in the community join with us to show appreciation,” Marishia said.

Applebee’s, Buff City Soap, FoodChain, High on Art and Coffee, Kremer Wholesale, Letitia’s Southern Catering Service, Magikal Memories, Manna’s Sweets and Cakes, Michael Coston (DJ/MC), Nika’s Joyful Creations, North Lime Coffee & Donuts, Pretty ‘N Pink, Sedona Taphouse, Smithtown Seafood, Third Street Stuff, and Youlanda’s Creation Factory all offered their products and time to show our Foster Grandparents how much the community appreciates their service. Writer and life coach Joy Harris-Edward of Authentic JOY even delivered a motivational speech that evening.

Executive Director Sharon Price said, “Connecting seniors with Head Start kids is good for everybody involved, and we are grateful to everyone who has stepped up to take on the role of a Foster Grandparent so that our kids have yet another caring grownup on their side.”

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