CIEDC foster grandparent program
celebrates 39th year
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On April 21, it was time to
recognize 54 senior citizens who work with the foster grandparent
program at CIEDC. The annual appreciation luncheon was held at
Jefferson Street Christian Church in Lincoln.
grandparent program, coordinated by CIEDC, brings seniors together
to provide one-on-one mentoring to children with special needs in
CIEDC Head Start programs, day cares and several public schools. The
program is active in Logan, Mason, Menard, Macon, DeWitt, Fulton and
Inis Birdwell of Lincoln was recognized for 21
years of service as a foster grandma. Dorothy Heeg, who has worked
as a foster grandma for 19 years, received an award for the most
lifetime hours. Heeg, of Lincoln, has worked 19,532 hours with the
program. The foster grandpa with the most lifetime hours, Jefferson
Joyner of Decatur, has been with the program for 15 years and has
served local children with 13,510 hours. All the foster grandparents
who currently work with the program have served 413,571 hours.
Grandpa Bill Rhoades of Lincoln also received an award for his
assistance in a CIEDC Head Start classroom. "Grandpa Bill is always
willing to do anything to help the kids and staff," said Meta
Burlington, the teacher. "He transports small zoo animals from the
Decatur Zoo about every other week and shares them with the other
Head Start centers in Lincoln. He participates in all our special
class days with zany hats, costumes and stuffed animals."
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Paula Gregg, foster grandparent director at CIEDC, is proud of
the work her foster grandparents do every day. "Imagine what a
harmonious world it could be if every single person, both young and
old, shared a little of what he is good at doing," said Gregg.
Any citizen who is 60 or older is eligible to participate in the
program. Foster grandparents receive a tax-free stipend for their
work in the
CIEDC is a Community Action Agency that serves the children,
low-income and elderly in central Illinois.
[Central Illinois Economic Development
Corp. news release]