'Grandmas' providing love

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Melissa K. Mekpongsatorn
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
Growing up, most people have fond memories of summertimes with their grandparents. But many military children don't get that opportunity because their families are stationed miles away.

Here at the Moody Child Development Center there is a group of nine women who call themselves "Grandma" and who are giving their time each day as a part of the Foster Grandparent Program spending time with Airmen's children.

"I love being a grandma," said Ada Maye Davis, grandma for those 6 weeks to 6 months old. "I love the babies, I love watching them grow and develop. I make them happy and they make me happy."

The "Grandmas" at the CDC work with several age groups and sometimes play an important role in the development of the children. They are there every day working one-on-one with the children. They read to them, play games with them, talk to them and nurture them.

"I rock them to sleep, sing them lullabies, read stories and help them walk when they are first learning," said Betty Stafford, grandma for the 6 months to 1-year-olds. "It's good to know at my age that someone still depends on me."

Sometimes being a part of a military family means children have one or sometimes both parents deployed. The "Grandmas" offer a constant by always being there and providing a familiar comforting face to the children at the CDC. The children greet them with hugs in the morning and tears in the afternoon when it's time to go home.

"When they see you at the door they come crawling as fast as they can," said Mary Porter, grandma for ages 6 months to 1 year old.

The children at the CDC aren't the only ones who benefit from the "Grandmas" that volunteer.

"It makes me feel good to be a grandma, it's rewarding," said Ms. Porter. "It keeps me energetic and in tune with my own grandchildren."

"I find it very entertaining," said Gloria Wright, grandma for the 2-year-olds. "Kids do the funniest things, it's enjoyable."

There are nine foster grandmas currently at the CDC. Geraldine Day, Ada Maye Davis, Durine Jones, Betty Stafford, Mary Porter, Frances Swinson, Gloria Wright, Kathy Roe and Virginia Ward together volunteered a total of 7793.75 hours in 2010.

One "Grandma" has been part of the program here since it started 15 years ago in 1996.

"I have been here for 15 years and enjoy working with the kids," said Ms. Jones, grandma for the 2-year-olds. "I have a lot of fun and plan on doing it for as long as they will let me."

All the "Grandmas" say they love what they do and want to work there as long as they can. Most of them work Monday through Friday, six to eight hours and have no plans of slowing down.

Moody's program may have only started 15 years ago, but the original Foster Grandparent Program startedĀ more thanĀ 45 years ago in 1965. And "Grandmas" have been providing love and assistance to children and youth ever since.