Sheboygan Area School District is marking 35 years of its highly
successful Foster Grandparent program this year. This unique program
brings together two generations separated by dozens of years in an
environment of learning and personal growth.
three-dozen senior citizens in the Sheboygan program serve as role
models and mentors to the hundreds of elementary school kids they
interact with on a daily basis. They share not only the wisdom of their
years, but also the same kind of love and compassion they have shown
their own grandchildren.
This kind of bond is
invaluable in the classroom because it gives the students another
person they can confide in. For some of the youngsters, this kind of
relationship may not be available outside of school.
foster grandparent is also a helpful assistant to the classroom teacher
by working with the students on projects and assignments. In many
cases, they provide one-on-one tutoring.
But the students are not the only ones who benefit.
program can be equally valuable to the participating seniors who
experience great satisfaction in helping youngsters grow and mature.
some, the small, tax-free stipend they receive from the federally
funded program can be a lifesaver in these difficult economic times.
The foster grandparents also are reimbursed for their mileage to and
from school and get a free meal on the days they serve in the classroom.
we doubt there are many in the Sheboygan school system serving as a
foster grandparents who are doing it for the small amount of money they
It's more likely they take part for the same
reason Marge Ruppel, profiled in a story on the program in The
Sheboygan Press earlier this week, joined up 12 years ago.
"It's just that we know we can help somebody," the 76-year-old retired nursing assistant said.
applaud Marge and the dozens of others like her who have chosen to
"help somebody" and who are so valuable to education in Sheboygan.