Two special awards and awards for years of service were presented July 21 to Foster Grandparents during the annual Catholic Charities' Foster Grandparents recognition luncheon held at Pearl Street Grill and Brewery.
A total of 45 Foster Grandparents were also recognized for one, three, five, seven, 10 and 20 years of service. Recipients of the Foster Grandparent of the Year and the 2016 Henry Osinski Community Service Award were honored at the event.
This year's Foster Grandparent of the Year Award was given to Delores Coleman of Amherst, who works at Buffalo Public School (BPS) #95, Waterfront Elementary School. Ms. Coleman was recognized as an incredible asset for the students in the first grade classroom where she assists.
Foster Grandparents develop one-on-one relationships with children ages 3-18 by tutoring, mentoring and offering caring support to special and exceptional needs children in an educational setting.
"Mrs. Coleman's dedication of being in the class every day ensured the students that someone was here to care and show concern for their learning," said Sal C. Andolina, first grade teacher at BPS #95. "Not only has she had a significant impact on the students and their success this year, she has had a positive impact on me. While my students gained a loving, caring Grandparent, I gained a friend."
The 2016 Henry Osinski Community Service Award was awarded to Amanda Lindaman, fourth grade teacher at BPS #94, West Hertel Academy. Ms. Lindaman was recognized for her incredible talent to transform a chaotic classroom into an environment filled with learning.
"They (the students) were enthusiastic and took part in their own learning. They were respectful and kind to one another and adults," said Susette Mines, Foster Grandparent in the classroom after Ms. Lindaman started. "The students began to say to themselves 'I am smart.'"
This year's luncheon also honored Fay Lignos of Buffalo for 21 years of service as a Foster Grandparent. The Foster Grandparents' most veteran volunteer, Grandma Fay has brought her invaluable kindness and compassion to many students, teachers and families in the Buffalo community for over two decades.
Barbara Reden, Director of Early Childhood Programs at Jamestown Community College says that Fay "loves the children, nurtures and helps them learn. She is helpful to the teachers in countless ways. Her positive attitude and incredible energy make the classroom a joyful place."
Foster 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 must be at least 55 years old and receive a small stipend.
In 2015, Foster Grandparents dedicated more than 90,400 hours in 29 educational settings in Erie County, including two Head Start sites, two after school programs, six preschool centers, two charter schools and 17 Buffalo Public Schools.
For more information or to request an application to become a Foster Grandparent, call (716) 896-6388, or visit our website at http://www.ccwny.org/services/foster-grandparent-program.
As the most comprehensive human service provider in Western New York, Catholic Charities served nearly 132,000 people in need in 2015. For 93 years, Catholic Charities has been making a difference for people of every faith and ethnicity in Western New York. Catholic Charities empowers individuals, children and families to achieve meaningful, healthy and productive lives. Catholic Charities is an excellent steward of the contributions that it receives, attaining the highest rating (four stars) from Charity Navigator and the 2015 Torch Award for Philanthropic Excellence from the Better Business Bureau Foundation of Upstate New York. The agency also receives highest rating from the Council on Accreditation for quality service.