Docia Fish has been a volunteer with the Foster Grandparent Program for the past 12 years. She gives love and attention to the children. In addition to this, she reads to the children and helps them with their studies. Mrs. Fish does all of this at the young age of 91 years old!
Born on December 23, 1909, Mrs. Fish was the third of six daughters born to Nathan and Bertha Moose. The family resided on a farm near Danville in upstate New York. She grew up there and attended Danville Schools. At 18, she married Paul Fish and they raised a family of four. The family moved to Southern California, to Kansas, and then back to California. Mrs. Fish worked for the Willits Senior Center for several years, and while she was there, Mable Gordon talked to her about becoming a foster grandparent.
The Foster Grandparent program is a federally funded senior program that serves children with special or exceptional needs. Some of the children are learning disabled, physically disabled, or mentally handicapped. The Foster Grandparents develop one-on-one relationships with one to six children in the classroom. The Grandparents provide their service of individualized tender loving care, friendship, and tutorial assistance.
Mrs. Fish has been dedicated to being a Foster Grandparent. When she first took on the volunteer responsibility, she was not sure if it was something that would “fit.” However, she became attached to all her children and even also became the cookie lady because she makes cookies monthly for her classes. Mrs. Fish has had many challenges in 1998. She lost her husband in January and later that year she had a stroke and was hospitalized for a month. Once she recovered and was released, she was right back on the job.
Grandma Docia is the Foster Grandparent of Mr. Gabe Ward’s first grade class at Brookside Elementary School. The children as well as the teacher have gotten attached to her. She is greeted each day with a hug and smile from different children in the class. They look forward to her loving smile and compassion. The children help her to settle into her special chair and get started on her time with them. She knows when the children need to be heard and when they may need some help with class work. Mrs. Fish has a keen sense of those children who also need some quality time. Because of her loving approach, these students have made noticeable academic achievements. Teachers have also seen many children improve their social skills and self-esteem.