In the five years that Grandpa Jim has been a Foster Grandparent he has left a huge imprint on the School, teachers and especially the second and third grade students that he has assisted over his five years at Alyce Norman Elementary School, a Title I program in West Sacramento, California.
This school has a large immigrate population that has students that speak English as a second language (ESL). This is where Grandpa Jim comes in. Although he works with all students that are assigned to him several require assistance with reading comprehension.
Jim meets with each student who should have read at home with parent etc. However, many parents don’t speak/read English and therefore the assignments do not get done. Jim meets with these kids and has them read to him.
He informs the staff that at the beginning of the school year these kids can not read! But, with little steady assistance and attention they become avid readers. He teaches them to “learn to love to learn”.
The kids love reading to Grandpa Jim. His teacher/supervisor notes: “Jim reads on a daily basis. These students do not have anyone to read with them at home. His students have an adult to bond with as well as read with to help them.
Students look forward to their time with Grandpa Jim. The school think he is wonderful. He takes the ball and runs with it; he can be counted on with minimal interface. He works with students in different classes listening to them read.
Being with a caring person is wonderful for children-some who have only Grandpa Jim to pay attention to them. Grandpa Jim is a blessing to the staff and the children he meets with. Jim loves working with his students and regularly volunteers during summer session.
When asked about his volunteer service he states “I work with ESL (English as a Second Language) students in two 2nd grade and three 3rd grade classes. I work with the students individually in a quiet area of the library. One of the classes has all ESL students. In the other classes I help with math, English and test taking skills. Occasionally we have a chance to just sit and talk. I am fortunate in that I am able to select my classes myself. I have a good relationship with the teachers. I enjoy want I do.”
Grandpa Jim recently received the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for volunteering over 4,000 hours in a lifetime. Though he has served so much, he expects to continue his tradition of volunteering.