Press Release – Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex recently partnered with the Foster Grandparent program placing a foster grandparent in the classroom. Barbara Hawkins, grandparent, began this new opportunity on August 1st, with significant positive impact being seen by all.
Sheryl Millwee, teacher, expressed, “The youth that Ms. Hawkins has worked with have been very appreciative of her help and are happy to see her. I have seen visible changes in their demeanor around her.” “We are excited to bring this program into the classrooms,” exclaimed Principal Beverly Sumners.
The Foster Grandparent program has been in existence since 1965 and it is in every state in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. It is a federal program with the state of Texas as the sponsor. There is an hourly stipend that does not affect social security or other benefits, transportation cost assistance as well as sick, vacation and holidays paid. Seniors will work with children 15-40 hours per week with optional special hours provided. Full background checks are completed prior to acceptance in the program.
This program provides an opportunity for persons over 55 years of age who have limited incomes to serve children and youth from birth to 21 years of age. The senior adult is able to choose the time, days, choice of location and age of children.
This program is mutually beneficial to the older volunteer and the children served. The volunteer has the opportunity to remain active, make a contribution to his/her community and to give love to a child. The children receive special time and attention from an older adult who is willing to provide unconditional love and support. “The students really look forward to working with Ms. Hawkins. There has been a much bigger than expected change in attitudes in such a short time, indicated by Lynette Fountain, teacher.
The foster grandparent’s main focus in the classroom is literacy. The youth at TJJD-Ron Jackson are often four to five years behind grade level in reading. Jan Heath, teacher, stated, “We decided to have Ms. Hawkins, foster grandparent, spend some time with each student as they read the lesson to her. This is our ’young female’ group. They have a tendency to rush through reading the lesson. We are seeing that this is helping the youth slow down, pay attention, and actually READ. The youth have responded well to her, accepted her help and have treated her with respect.”
If you are interested in becoming a foster grandparent please contact Penny Riggs at Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex at 325-641-4240 or Debra Young at Foster Grandparent Program at 325-795-5704.