Time flies when you’re having fun. It has been over five years that Foster Grandparent Volunteer, Alberta Hall (Grandma Alberta) has assisted in Mr. Laird’s 1st grade class. She is amazing and has made a huge impact on these youngsters. Mr. Laird notes: “Alberta really cares for the children and keeps them focused. She creates a positive and caring experience for children who very rarely receive it. She performs guided reading with small groups, conducts assessments of individual children, administers spelling tests to students who were absent when tests were given to class, works one to one with “at risk” students in all subject areas, assists with craft projects, prepares student folders each day and more. The class reading and writing skills have dramatically improved under Grandma Alberta’s tutoring. Her presence has enabled me to give the children who are having a hard time, more intensive help. Grandma Alberta is always cheerful, friendly and reliable”. At 70 years young, while I visited her class in early January, Alberta was assisting a small group with an individual art project. Each student was designing, painting and decorating their own snowman. As they put on the eyes she asked; how many eyes does he have? And so on with each aspect of putting the snowman together. Two eyes, one nose, three buttons on his coat. This was very fun to observe and instructive at the same time. The children were genuinely enjoying their project with Grandma Alberta. Several art projects were displayed around Mr. Laird’s class and I could tell this was soon to be the next.
Alberta was in the first graduating class of Foster Grandparent Volunteers in our Literacy Project in Placer County and the first volunteer placed at Rocklin Elementary School. Since then she has personally recruited several new volunteers, two that are currently placed at Rocklin Elementary School while others volunteer elsewhere. Alberta’s commitment to children is grand. Most foster Grandparents volunteer 3-4 hours a day 5 days a week. Alberta volunteers 6 hours a day, 5 days a week. Over the past five years Alberta has posted nearly 8,000 hours. Last year Alberta received the Presidents Lifetime Achievement Award for accumulating over 4,000 volunteer hours over her lifetime. Well, Alberta deserves recognition for accumulating 8,000 volunteer hours in five years alone.
Alberta is one of 100 Foster Grandparents is Sacramento, California that offer meaningful volunteer opportunities for people 60 and over to provide love and support to children with special or exceptional needs. Thousand of children have been helped by Foster Grandparents in the 30 plus years of the program. Some children are mentally, physically, or emotionally disabled; others are abused, neglected or in the juvenile justice system. Every child is special, but many lack the presence of that special someone who could make all the difference in the world.