11 Cares for Kids: Foster Grandparent Program Special Report

By: Natalie Pallone Email
By: Natalie Pallone Email

We've all heard of foster parents, but what about foster grandparents?

There's a program in Mesa County that's been helping children for decades.

In this 11 Cares for Kids Special Report 11 News Anchor Natalie Pallone shows us how the program is making a difference.

Thelma Andris has been a foster grandparent for 15 years.

Five days a week Andris plays with the children here at Migrant Head Start. She feeds them, puts them to sleep and helps them learn.

Andris is just one of many foster grandparents touching the lives of local children.

“We served about 1,500 children in 2008, we had 64 foster grandparents that provided over 50,000 hours of service,” says Denise Potterton, the program's director.

She says her volunteers are playing a positive role in the lives of children who need a little extra attention and help in and out of the classroom. “The community benefits in that it gives our children more of a direction and self confidence, it helps them with learning and it makes them better citizens in our community.”

Four-year veteran volunteer Charlotte Maes says not only is she teaching kids the fundamentals, but she's learning from them too.

“You have to learn a lot from the children. They are so interesting their minds are a great place now where they are so inquisitive,” she says.

Along with learning more, foster grandparents greatly benefit from the program.

Denise says, “We do pay a stipend if eligible, we pay mileage, provide training, a physical exam every year so it really is a great program.”

But perhaps the best part?

They say it gets them out of the house and around fantastic, adorable children.

Right now there are about 50 foster grandparents in Mesa County but more are always needed to help bring a smile to every child.

For more information on the foster grandparent program, click the link below.

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