Foster Grandparent Program
|Making a Difference in South Florida|
April is Volunteer Month and May 15- 19 is Senior Corps week. We celebrate the power of extraordinary volunteers who are at the center of social change in our communities. Senior Corps Programs; Foster Grandparent, RSVP and Senior Companion are strengthening the fabric of our nation one precious life at a time. For Gladys Delfin volunteering as a Foster Grandparent and making a difference in the lives of children is her passion and purpose in life.
On April 24, 2017 Foster Grandparent Gladys Delfin, Sara Humphries Foster Grandparent program director at the Area Agency on Aging Palm Beach/ Treasure Coast and Impact Broward COO Diane Smith visited with Alyn Fernandez, Regional Director for Senator Marco Rubio at his Miami office. Grandma Gladys had an opportunity to share with Senator Rubio’s staff the impact the Senior Corps Foster Grandparent Programs have in their communities.
At age 75, Gladys has been a positive role model, friend and caring adult as well as tutor to over 25 special needs students since beginning the program in 2013. Gladys spoke about one Kindergartener who had witnessed a murder in his home. He came to school unable to speak; mute due to the trauma. Gladys strived to get through to this struggling child and help him through this difficult time. She had previously learned sign language to communicate with an autistic family member and so began using these techniques with this little boy. With patience, persistence, trust and love Gladys was able to break through the silent wall and teach him how to communicate through sign language. It wasn’t long before he was verbally able to express himself and achieve his academic goals to be promoted to first grade and beyond. For this child and for many other precious young lives, a Foster Grandparent volunteer in the classroom is the key to success academically, socially and emotionally.
Foster Grandparent Gladys Delfin states that through volunteering elders stay vital and make gains physically as well as mentally. “We tackle tough challenges with compassion and confidence to create positive changes. This is a win-win for both the seniors and the special needs kids we serve.” During the 2016-2017 school year the Foster Grandparent Program Palm Beach/ Treasure Coast encompassed 150 senior volunteers serving over 600 students in 45 local elementary schools and Head Starts.
As the American author and poet Mary Oliver wrote, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”