Volunteer to be a Foster Grandparent

Nov 20, 2012
Photo by: Donated photo LOVED BY THE CHILDREN AND STAFF — Lois Gibson is a Foster Grandparent at North Canton Elementary.

Children whose lives are touched by Lois Gibson are fortunate, although she would be quick to say that it is she who is fortunate to have the children in her life.   Gibson is a Foster Grandparent at the North Canton Elementary School.

Gibson worked for Southwestern Child Development during which time she also went to school and earned her degree in Early Childhood Development. After 22 years with Southwestern, Gibson retired.  Two years later she had lost her husband and missed the children that had been a part of her life for so many years.

“That’s when I decided to become a Foster Grandparent,” said Gibson; “Because of my work at Southwestern, I knew there was a need, and I wanted to give back.”

In August 1997, Gibson signed on as a Foster Grandparent, and 15 years later, she is still on the job.

“I need many more people like Lois," said Mary Phillips, who provides oversight of the Foster Grandparent Program through Mountain Projects, Inc.  "Never, in all her years as a Foster Grandparent, has Lois been anything but great.  She is totally dependable. The children and school staff all love her.”

Gibson works individually with the children to bring them up to grade level and help them become more self confident about their abilities. In turn, she said, she feels good that she has been able to help.

“It’s a matter of love,” said Gibson, “I’d take all the children home with me, if I could.”

Gibson, who turned 81 last week, has no intentions of slowing down.  “As long as I can get to North Canton and those children — I’ll be there.”

Foster Grandparents must be 55 or older.  The greatest benefit is the difference one can make in the life of a child; however, there are other benefits as well.  Foster Grandparents receive a tax free hourly stipend, mileage reimbursement, and secondary insurance coverage while volunteering.

The Foster Grandparent Program is in need of people like Lois who want to give back and who love children.  Contact the Foster Grandparent Program at 452-2370 for more information.