2013-05-23 / Lifestyles

Foster grandparents take home awards

Annual dinner honors Schoolcraft volunteers

GLADSTONE – Foster Grandparents from Delta, Menominee and Schoolcraft counties celebrated 35 years of service at their annual Recognition Dinner.

The Foster Grandparent Program began in 1978 with Georgie Safford as the first director, recruiting 35 volunteers from the tri-county area. Persons age 60 years and older were needed to provide one-on-one service to children with special or exceptional needs in the schools.

These volunteers serve 15-40 hours a week and receive 40 hours of orientation, a non-taxable stipend, travel reimbursement, meal each day of service, annual physical examination, excess auto coverage for volunteers driving their own vehicles, accident and personal liability insurance and recognition.

Funding for the program is provided by Corporation for National and Community Service, Michigan Office for the Services to the Aging and the Upper Peninsula Foster Grandparent Foundation.

One of the achievements of this program is the organization of the Upper Peninsula Foster Grandparent Foundation, with the sole purpose of promoting the area Foster Grandparent Program. To date, the Foundation has awarded $197,400 to the local Foster Grandparent Program.

This year, $15,300 was awarded, enabling support for Foster Grandparents in each of the three counties. Currently, there are 52 Foster Grandparents at 14 sites operating in Menominee, Delta, and Schoolcraft counties.

During the recognition dinner, all Foster Grandparents were honored with a monetary gift, Certificate of Congressional Recognition for their years of service from Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a State of Michigan Special Tribute Certificate from Sen. Tom Casperson and Rep. Edward Macbroom, 35 year anniversary book, and other special awards.

Foster Grandparents honored were:

-Intermediate Category (less than 675 hours), Marilyn Ross -Schoolcraft County

-One year: June Van Ness - Schoolcraft County

-Four years: Judy Parrish, Schoolcraft County

-Eight years: Leila Thill – Schoolcraft County

-Nine years: Margaret Besaw – Schoolcraft County

-12 years: Carol Porter, Schoolcraft County

-14 years: Shirley Macabee and Rose Moulds – Delta County.

The Foster Grandparent Program is administered by Community Action Agency, 507 First Ave. North, Escanaba, Michigan 49829. To sign up or for more information, contact Mary Bunnin, director, or Peggy Ramsden, volunteer coordinator, at (906) 786-7080.

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