July 17, 2019

Foster Grandparent Helps East Providence First Graders Learn and Grow

Posted by EBCAP19

Deborah Pfanstiehl of East Providence has been an active participant in the East Bay Foster Grandparent Program, a division of East Bay Community Action Program, for two and a half years. She has served in Sue Brown’s 1st grade classroom at the A.M. Waddington School in East Providence, RI.

“We are very fortunate to have Mrs. Pfanstiehl as part of our classroom community. Students look forward to her 9:00 arrival each day. They eagerly await their turn to read sight words to her, share a story with her, give her a ‘morning hug,’ or a quiet hello,” said Brown. She added “Mrs. Pfanstiehl has also shared her love of music with our class, playing her guitar and singing songs related to science/ELA curriculum.”

Pfanstiehl feels she and the Foster Grandparent Program are a “perfect match.” The part-time hours are just what she was looking for to supplement her income, and her background in academic early childhood education is a bonus in the classroom. She said, “I appreciate the availability to work within required program hours that fit my availability and the opportunity to mentor first grade students as they start their educational journey!”

Pfanstiehl says there are many benefits of working as a Foster Grandparent, but one she is most grateful for is that she feels like she is reliving the time when her own children were in elementary school “experiencing the wonder of learning.”

Do you know someone over the age of 55 who wants to make a difference in the life of a child? Those interested in improving our community by helping youth get a good scholastic start should consider volunteering in East Bay Community Action Program’s Foster Grandparent Program. Volunteers receive a tax-free hourly stipend of $2.65 per hour. This stipend will not affect income taxes, Social Security, Food Stamps, housing, or Supplemental Security Income. Volunteers also receive mileage reimbursements or a bus pass, paid leave and paid holidays. Foster Grandparent volunteers commit to at least 15 hours a week. Call 401-435-7876 to learn more.

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