Abigail Figueroa, a fierce community activist, helps not only her assigned service clientele, but involves herself in all aspects of her community. A participant in the Foster Grandparent Program, and not having grandchildren of her own, she has become the Grandmother of all of the children in her community and her service area as well.
Her home in the town of Luquillo becomes the activity center for all the children in the community for holidays such as Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and other special occasions. At her service station, Pablo Suarez Elementary School, she has managed to arrange the donation of sewing machines, carpentry tools, arts and crafts materials, and kitchen equipment for the special education program, to promote their manual skills and develop their sense of independence.
“Grandma Abigail,” as the children call her, has to strong commitment to help the surrounding community through the use of her abilities, such as sewing uniforms for needy children in the economically deprived area. Her efforts have resulted in a significant impact on the special education children, especially in the sewing and arts and crafts workshops.
In her quest to assist others, Grandma Abigail trained herself in sewing and upholstery to be able to transmit this knowledge to her students. Additionally, she invests in manuals and magazines for her self-education that she ultimately donates to the school as educational materials. She loves to share her knowledge with her students.
In school, she helps with tutoring in the areas of mathematics and Spanish, makes donations for school activities, works preparing or serving meals, involves herself in children’s games, organizes talent shows, and makes the costumes for the children’s special presentations. Also, Grandma Abigail coordinates service activities for the needy children such as dental care workshops, arranged in cooperation with the local dentist, Doctor Diaz, which offer dental care and follow-up to participants free of charge.
Grandma Abigail is the leader of the six Foster Grandparent Program volunteers at the Pablo Suarez School, and also serves as a scout for the program. When she meets someone with the ability and qualifications to become a Foster Grandparent Program volunteer, she refers them to the program office. She has recruited several special people to the program that are now assets to the Foster Grandparent volunteer service effort.
To know Grandma Abigail is a blessing to all in the program. Her concern for the community’s well being is not limited to the children. She also established a church-based arts and crafts school for homemakers that expanded through the island east region.