The 17th Annual FHSU Foster Grandparent Program Recognition Celebration was held on Thursday, April 10, at the FHSU Memorial Union. Approximately 90 people were in attendance including State Representatives Sue Boldra and Travis Couture-Lovelady, Rep. for District 110 in the Kansas House; Margaret Gabelmann and state Silver Hair Legislature representatives from the area as well as Ellis Mayor Lyle Johnston.
Doug Greer, Chair of the Advisory Council, served as master of ceremonies. Dr. Jeff Briggs, Dean of the College of Health & Life Sciences, represented the University. Christine Weber, Early Childhood Connections teacher at Lincoln Elementary School in Hays, shared her experience of having a Foster Grandparent volunteer in the classroom. The entertainment for the evening was provided by Style Dance Centre Dancers under the direction of Johnae Blackmon, Assistant Director.
Foster Grandparents proved one-on-one attention and support to children and youth with special needs. They help improve reading skills, school attendance, and encourage appropriate social behaviors.
The program began at Fort Hays State University in 1997 and there are currently 50 Foster Grandparents who gave more than 38,000 hours of service to children in Barton, Ellis, Ford, Gove, Graham, Pawnee, Rooks, Russell and Trego counties. Funding is provided by Ellis, Gove, Rooks, Russell and Trego counties, the Cities of Ellis, Victoria and WaKeeney.