Foster grandparents program helps local children in school

Foster grandparents program helps local children in school

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - An organization is utilizing senior citizens to help young Southwest Louisiana students academically.

The Foster Grandparent program came to SWLA in 1999, and since then has made an impact on those involved.

“I feel good," Ethel McCullough, a foster grandparent for the last five years, said. "It makes me feel real wonderful because the ones I’ve taught over the years, whenever they see me, they still call me grandma.”

The Foster Grandparents work with children in school one-on-one, helping those who are struggling with reading and math, with the intention of helping them to reach grade level by 3rd grade and to reach the "Above Basic" level on standardized tests.

Kathy Richard has been the program director for 10 years and says they have seen success through the program.

“I do see a lot of improvement,” Richard said. “The numbers that I get show that the grandparents are helping.”

But why grandparents?

“Oh, why not grandparents?” Richard said. “Who is going to have the patience and the love to help the children if it’s not a grandparent. A lot of children, they don’t have their grandparents around. So these are kind of their adopted mawmaws and pawpaws. That are working with them and patting them on the back, telling them they did such a good job and want to see them do it again.”

McCullough agrees.

“My grandchildren say well they aren’t your grandchildren, but they are,” McCullough said. “In the classroom. I’m so glad I came I love giving my help.”

The program is sponsored through a federal grant through the Corporation for National and Community Service and is sponsored by Big Brothers Big Sisters of SWLA.

Richard says they currently have 52 foster grandparents, but are always looking for more.

On Wednesday, they will have a program honoring all the current foster grandparents in Lake Charles.

If you want to join the Foster Grandparents program, you can call Kathy Richard at 478-5437 ext. 104. or krichard@bbbsswla.org.

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