In the News: White honored at Foster Grandparent Banquet

Originally published in the Times Daily.

Corrine White was sitting at the table with friends, clapping for people being honored at the Foster Grandparents Program.

Suddenly, a look of surprise and shock came over her face when White heard her name called as the Foster Grandparent of the Year.

“I never thought about this happening to me,” said White, an 87-year-old Lauderdale County resident who works with the kindergarten class at Brooks Elementary. “I volunteer because I love doing something, being involved, and I love those children.”

White works in Lori Lindsey’s kindergarten class. It was Lindsey who nominated White for the award.

“She works diligently with me working with the children to help them with projects and their classroom work,” Lindsey wrote in her nomination. “I realize how important she is to me and the children, and what a difference she has made in the lives of the children and my life.”

White, along with other foster grandparents, were recognized for their outstanding efforts Thursday morning at the Foster Grandparents 43rd recognition banquet, which was held at the A.W. Todd Centre in Russellville.

Jessica Latham, director of the program, said there are 80 foster grandparents currently working in day cares, elementary schools, head start programs and aftercare programs.

The Foster Grandparent Program, which began in 1974, is headquartered in Russellville. It serves agencies in Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale, Marion and Winston counties.

The members work 15 to 40 hours per week and receive a small non-taxed stipend twice a month, mileage reimbursements and lunches.

“This is such a great program,” said Russellville Mayor David Grissom. “These men and women provide a valuable service in the communities working with the children. They’re making a difference in the lives of a lot of young people.”

White said she was looking for something to do after her husband died four years ago.

“I didn’t want to just sit around and watch television,” she said. “I read about this program and decided to get involved. I don’t regret it.”

She works three days a week.

Lindsey said the children love having White working with them.

“I can hardly get out the door for all the hugs,” White said. “I love doing this.”

Others who received awards at the banquet included:

  • Service award for hours served — Constance Hooks;
  • Inspiration award — Annie B. West;
  • Rookie of the Year award — Patricia Whitson.

Latham said 22 foster grandparents were nominated for the Volunteer of the Year Award. They all received Rose Awards for their nominations.

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