Story courtesy of Jess Bengtson (Crookston Daily Times)
Washington Elementary in Crookston has two extraordinary ladies who are part of the Foster Grandparent program. They come to Washington to help the children during and after school with reading, writing, and art projects. All teachers say these Grandmas are a “blessing.”
Grandma Addie Woinarowicz started with the Foster Grandparent program almost 10 years ago. She was first placed at Lincoln Elementary, which has been closed now for several years. Addie worked with the toddlers and kindergarten classes until noon back when they didn’t have a full day. When Lincoln closed, she went over to Carman School, also since closed, and worked with the babies. Addie has now been at Washington for five years.
“My favorite activities to do with the kids are really everything. Writing, math, and I enjoy the after school program too,” says Addie.
She works for the after school program every Monday and Tuesday from 3:00 to 5:30 p.m.
One thing out of the ordinary that Addie has done with the kids is teach them to embroider. This past summer, she had 14 kids (girls and boys) doing embroidery.
“It was neat that I could teach them something they probably wouldn’t get to do any other time,” she said.
Addie is from Euclid and has four kids of her own. Addie also has four grandkids with a new granddaughter on the way in January. She loves being around and working with children. She even belongs to a club that make baby layettes for mothers who need them.
One thing that Addie hopes for in the future is that more senior citizens sign up for the Foster Grandparent program. “We really need the help and once you start, you will love the job.”
Grandma Deloryce Bertils started with the Foster Grandparent program 18 years ago. She has lived in Crookston her entire life and has six kids, 13 grandkids, and three great-grandchildren. Deloryce also has three more great-grandchildren on the way.
Deloryce, like Addie, started at Lincoln Elementary working with the babies, preschool and kindergarten students. Someone told her recently that she is just like a teacher, but she doesn’t think that way. She just loves to help and wants kids to learn.
“There are some kids who don’t have two parents in the home or any grandparents. This program lets kids have a grandma or grandpa,” says Deloryce.
She doesn’t necessarily have a favorite activity because she just likes working with the kids. Deloryce does all kinds of things, even projects in the summer for the teachers. Currently, she works in Renee Tangquist’s class at Washington.
One thing she wants all seniors to know is that this program is definitely worth it.
“It’s so rewarding! Once you get involved, you will have fun. I’d rather be here any day than off somewhere having coffee and chatting,” Deloryce said.