The 33rd annual Foster Grandparent Program Recognition luncheon honored participants of the Foster Grandparent Program with an afternoon of music and awards on July 15 at Classics V Banquet Center in Amherst.
Zoraida Montilla, who works with the children at Bornhava, was named Foster Grandparent of the Year, while Lolita Bulluck, a Foster Grandparent at Buffalo Public School #82 Early Childhood Center, was the recipient of the Henry Osinski Award. Twenty-eight volunteers were recognized for one, three, five, seven and 10 years of service.
Foster Grandparents develop one-on-one relationships with children ages 3 to 18 by tutoring, mentoring and offering caring support to children with special and exceptional needs. Grandparents volunteer between 15 and 40 hours each week and draw from personal wisdom and experience to help children meet social, academic, and developmental goals under the supervision of teachers and center directors. All volunteers are age 55 and above and receive a small stipend.
In 2014, Catholic Charities' Foster Grandparents dedicated more than 87,000 hours in 32 educational settings in Erie County, including five Head Start sites, two after school programs, five preschool centers, two charter schools and 18 Buffalo Public Schools. There are currently 63 Foster Grandparents serving in Buffalo Public Schools.