Foster Grandparents Make a DifferencePosted on Mar 29, 2016 in Main
Few Hawai‘i childhood memories are complete without kūpuna in the classrooms. The Foster Grandparent Program, barely a kūpuna itself at just 51 years young, continues to make these kinds of memories for pre-school and elementary school students every year. On March 24, 2016, the Foster Grandparents Program honored 25 volunteers who serve Hawai‘i schools and students. The volunteers were honored in a special luncheon ceremony at the Pagoda Hotel.
In 2015 alone, a total of 120 foster grandparents served 420 elementary and Head Start students, volunteering more than 100,000 hours.
The impact these foster grandparents make permeates the schools they assist. More than 85% of the children foster grandparents served achieved their education goals because of the volunteers’ help.
Perhaps the more meaningful impact though is the way teachers and students speak of the foster grandparents. Alice Ziegler, assistant teacher at Waimānalo Pre Plus Head Start, said this of one foster grandparent: “She’s a dedicated and hardworking grandma, and we feel grateful for having her.”
Another teacher from Kamaile Academy said the volunteer in her classroom “does many things in the classroom, the most important is being a trusted Aunty who will listen to students who need that extra loving adult in their lives.”
The Foster Grandparent Program recruits and engages our kūpuna to serve as role models, mentors and tutors to children with exceptional needs. Hawai‘i was one of the first states to adopt the Foster Grandparent Program after Pres. John F. Kennedy first urged for the establishment of a National Senior Corps in 1963. The program is a part of the Social Services Division Adult Protective and Community Services Branch.