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Foster Grandparent Program to benefit Black Hawk Elementary School students

Published: May. 12, 2022 at 6:36 PM CDT
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QUINCY (WGEM) - There are about 385 students at Black Hawk Elementary School in Kahoka, Missouri. Many of them struggle with social and emotional learning.

One teacher said bringing grandparent figures into the kids’ lives will help them become better students, and feel more supported.

Douglass Community Services offers a foster grandparent program for schools. It provides tutoring, companionship and developmental assistance to students who may be struggling. Retired community members can assist in classrooms during the school day or help with afterschool tutoring programs.

Black Hawk Elementary School Principal Betsy Parrish plans to integrate the program next school year as she says it would help the students.

“I think especially with COVID, we see so many gaps in student learning right now and so many students again who just need to make those connections with people, so for me this was perfect timing. Hopefully we can fill in those gaps,” Parrish said.

Black Hawk Elementary School Teacher Jena Oilar is looking forward to the program next year as she said her students could benefit from it.

“I had several high-need students that had experienced trauma in their life, and a grandparent figure... makes that extra special kind of connection,” Oilar said.

Oilar said the program will also be a big help for teachers.

“Sometimes we feel overwhelmed in the classroom because we are trying to teach curriculum but there’s so many social and emotional needs that we sometimes can’t address all of them,” Oilar said.

Principal Betsy Parrish says it’s great to get the community involved inside the school again.

“They haven’t been allowed in the schools for so long and so this will be a great way to facilitate that and get that started again,” Parrish said.

Those who want to volunteer must be retired.

Douglass Community services will provide a stipend for people who get involved.

If you would like to volunteer, call Carol Bunch at 573-221-3892 or email fgp@douglassonline.org.

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