Press Release (WishOfALifetime.org)
Pueblo Seniors Donate Their Time to At-Risk Youth Through
Foster Grandparents Programs
WHAT: Jeremy Bloom’s Wish of a Lifetime (JBWOL) is hosting 89 senior citizens for lunch and a private performance of “Broadway Country” at the Damon Runyon Repertory Theatre. The seniors attending are being recognized by JBWOL because of their efforts in the Foster Grandparent Programs for Senior Inc. and Senior Resource Development Agency.
Seniors who volunteer for Foster Grandparent Programs make a positive multi-generational impact on the lives of at-risk children through their community outreach efforts. Many of the children served live in Colorado’s poorest rural communities and are in need of additional academic support due to learning and physical disabilities, language barriers, or neglect and abuse. In 2009, 49 Foster Grandparents from Seniors Inc. served 44,351 hours with 1,106 students in 45 classrooms.
WHEN: Saturday, August 7, 2010
12:00 – 1:30 p.m. Lunch at Senior Resource Development Agency, 230 N. Union Ave, Pueblo
2:00 – 4:00 p.m. “Broadway Country” performance, Damon Runyon Theatre, 611 North Main St., Pueblo
*Seniors will be available for interviews from 12:00 – 1:15 p.m. during lunch or after the performance at the theatre.
WHERE: Two locations:
· Senior Resource Development Agency, 230 Union Ave, Pueblo
· Damon Runyon Theatre, 611 N Main St., Pueblo
WHO: 89 senior citizens from Senior Inc. and Senior Resource Development Agency
· Grandma Helen Smith has served the Las Animas Community as a foster grandparent volunteer since 2003. She volunteers at the Bent County Nursing Home and sits on the Board of Directors for the SAGE meal program. Grandma Helen has worked at Las Animas Elementary School in Las Animas, Colorado servicing students from kindergarten thru second grade. She has a warm smile and spark about her.
Several years ago, Grandma Helen struggled to recover from what was supposed to be a simple back surgery. She was placed in a nursing home as she was unable to care for herself. One day her nursing home room was filled with smiling little faces and little hands filled with cards wishing her a well. The children read to her during their visit as she had read to them so many times before. When it was time to leave the children would have it no other way but to have a hug from Grandma Helen.
Without a doubt it was a turning point in Grandma Helen’s recovery and made a difference in getting her back to school the following year. She has been there ever since. Grandma Helen celebrated her 80th birthday in June. Sharing in the celebration of a good life were many of the children from the school she serves.
WHY: Volunteers share their wisdom and expertise with at-risk students, resulting in long-term bonds. In addition, teachers receive invaluable classroom assistance from the senior citizens who give their time. In return for their service, a Foster Grandparents volunteer receives a stipend of $2.65 an hour, meals while on duty, mileage reimbursement, and monthly training. But with their limited incomes, it is rare for the volunteers to have a moment to dream beyond their daily needs.
Comment from Nina Schneider, La Veta School Teacher:
“I have known Mary Jo “Grandma Jo”, professionally for the past 4 years. She understands, communicates and shows genuine care for the children. Grandma Jo has an array if stories from her childhood full of wisdom that set an example of kindness and humbleness. She is firm but gentle, friendly and yet promotes respect. If a child needs guidance Grandma Jo is fair, thoughtful and finds opportunity for instilling a lesson,
Grandma Jo means a lot to the children. She is always cheerful and the children understand and find in her a very nurturing person they can rely on. She is indispensable for the Foster Grandparent program. I can attest to her character and value as a Foster Grandparent.”
About Jeremy Bloom’s Wish of a Lifetime
Jeremy Bloom's Wish of a Lifetime (JBWOL) was established by two-time Olympic Skier, former NFL football player and Colorado native Jeremy Bloom. Bloom left competitive sports to launch the foundation in order to initiate a cultural change by enriching the lives of seniors in need. After founding the non-profit in living honor of his grandmother, Donna Wheeler, Bloom has granted wishes ranging from skydiving to fishing in the Rocky Mountains. For more information about Jeremy Bloom's Wish of a Lifetime, please visit www.seniorwish.org.