Foster Grandparents Thanked for Their Service - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Foster Grandparents Thanked for Their Service

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BILLINGS -

Rosemary Peak, more commonly known as Grandma Bunny to her four and five year-old students, has volunteered with the Foster Grandparent program for 18 years.

The appreciation event is designed to honor people, just like Grandma Bunny, for dedicated service to the pre-schoolers she mentors in Fort Belknap. Volunteers help out in preschool to high school classrooms and often mentor students one-on-one, aiming to make learning fun in the classroom.

"We help with the reading, and writing the names, and hold them and tying their shoes," said Peak.

The program is active nationwide, with the local region spanning seven counties and three Native American reservations. Volunteering is something Senior Corps national director Dr. Erwin J. Than said benefits both the young and old.

"One of my volunteers once told me that this keeps me one step away from loneliness. Another volunteer, when she was sick at home the kids wanted to Skype with her because they missed her so much," said Than.

Asked why she and others choose to volunteer in classrooms, Grandma Bunny said it just makes her smile to help students learn.

"I just feel honored that I have the children to stand with me and stay with me. And sit with me. And they see me on the street and they're like, "Hi, Grandma Bunny!," she said.

More than 300,000 foster grandparents serve nationwide. St. Vincent Healthcare has sponsored the regional program, the only one in the state, for the past 42 years.

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