Foster Grandparent Program brings together generations - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Foster Grandparent Program brings together generations


Osseo-Fairchild (WQOW) - They say age is meant to bring us wisdom, but students at Osseo-Fairchild Elementary School are growing wise with a little help.

Millie "Grandma Millie" Polinske might not look like a typical first grader, but what she lacks in youth, her spirit surpasses.

"I always thought if I could help with one student it would be worth it," said Polinske.

Polinske has volunteered as a Foster Grandparent for 24 years, all spent at Osseo-Fairchld Elementary.

"It does just as much for me as it does for the student," Polinske said.

The program partners grandparents and pupils as they help students over learning hurdles, after already gone over their own.

"The one on one relationship that develops with the older adult is so important to them, someone who notices when they have a haircut or new shoes," said Mary Jo Hanson, Director of the Foster Grandparents Program.

For Polinske, the program also provided a second chance.

"Way back when, I would have liked to be a teacher," Polinske said. "My dad became really sick and I stayed at home, just until I got married. This was my chance to work with students."

Polinske said not only does she love what she does, it also contributes to keeping her healthy. Between staying physically and mentally active, it gives her a reason to get up and going.

"If I see one student that has made progress or feels better about themselves, it's just wonderful," Polinske said.

Hanson said the program is in need of more foster grandparents all over Western Wisconsin, and there are schools in Eau Claire waiting to take advantage of the program.

For more information on how to get involved or to sign up to be a foster grandparent, head to the CESA 10 website.

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