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Foster Grandparents are celebrated during annual conference

Date: 07/06/2017

There was a substantial aura of joy throughout the 2017 Foster Grandparent Conference.

Foster Grandparents from various regions of the state convened at North Little Rock’s Wyndham Hotel to attend the highly informative and entertaining two-day event.

The conference featured symposiums on health insurance, physical fitness, healthy eating habits, and overall expectations for volunteers. There was also an awards ceremony and a fashion show.

“The conference was fantastic. I enjoyed socializing. I enjoyed the wonderful meals,” said Foster Grandparent Program (FGP) volunteer, Yvonne E. Taylor. “The entire conference was a pleasure to be a part of. I want to thank the Department of Human Services (DHS) for the Foster Grandparent Program.”

“I’m grateful to be part of an organization that gives senior citizens a chance to work with children and serve the community.”

The program is an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service Senior Corps and DHS Office of Communications and Community Engagement (OCCE). FGP allows individuals 55-and-older who meet the income requirement, to serve 20-plus hours per week at a school, head start program, human development center, approved child care center, or an accredited community site. The volunteers provide support services for at-risk children and youth who have special or exceptional needs.  

“The Foster Grandparent Program helps the youth. But it also provides older individuals with a chance to get out of the house and be around other people,” said Jimmie Sue Wade, FGP Coordinator for the Southeast Arkansas Human Development Center.  “It provides the volunteers with a purpose to live for.”

In regard to the conference it also provided an opportunity for the foster grandparents to interact with one another, have fun, and establish beneficial relationships.

“Seeing the volunteers together and smiling, being engaged in fun conversations is among the occurrences I appreciated the most,” said Betty Dukes, FGP Administrator. “I enjoyed seeing the foster grandparents overall participation. The fashion show and recognition awards were also great to see.

“Most of the attendees complimented us on things like: the fellowship, facilities, great food, how the focus was on them being a better volunteer, and how to simply get the program off to a good start.”    

Wade, who is a longtime proponent of FGP, was thoroughly impressed with the festivities.

“The conference was very organized,” she stated. “The organizers did an outstanding job. This surpassed my expectations.”

The event was the ideal conclusion to a year full of accomplishments for everyone associated with FGP.

“I had nothing but joy knowing that a goal had been achieved,” Dukes said. “All the hard work that was put into it was worth it.”

For more information about FGP, contact Dukes via e-mail at betty.dukes@dhs.arkansas.gov or by phone at (501) 320-6454.

 

 

Cutline: Foster Grandparent Administrator Betty Dukes and FGP volunteer Lucille Howze share a laugh during an awards ceremony.

Arkansas Department
of Human Services
(501) 682-1001

TTY: 1-800-285-1131 or dial 711 for Arkansas Relay Service

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