McGuire named top Foster Grandparent
Educators play a special role in the development and growth a child experiences during his or her lifetime, but there’s also another special group of people who invests in those same children’s lives day after day – foster grandparents.
On Friday, the Foster Grandparent Program held their 37th annual recognition banquet and paid special tribute to Red Bay Elementary School’s volunteer, Margaret McGuire, who was named as this year’s Foster Grandparent of the Year.
McGuire has served as a foster grandmother for the past eight years, four of which have been spent with Red Bay kindergarten teacher Becky Hester who nominated McGuire for the award.
“She makes people feel special,” Hester said of McGuire. “She is kind and loving to the children and works tirelessly to help them. The children are her top priority.”
Hester said McGuire has been working with a student this year who only speaks Chinese and the child has actually started speaking some English when he’s around McGuire.
“She loves the Foster Grandparent Program and most of all, she loves the children. But it doesn’t just go one way – the children all love her, too. The little girls all fight over who gets to hold her hand when we walk down the hall and they miss her when she’s not there.”
McGuire, who had a beauty shop for 49 years before taking a friend’s advice and becoming a foster grandmother, said she was touched to be honored among so many other qualified foster grandparents.
“I just love what I do and I love all of those kids,” she said. “Teachers can’t get to every little thing in the classroom and I think foster grandparents can give the children that extra time, especially the ones who come from broken homes who need extra love and attention.”
McGuire said she’s always thrilled when a former student remembers her or comes to visit her.
“When I was sick, I had so many of them who came to visit me,” she said. “That kind of thing just makes my day.”
Jessica Latham, director of the Foster Grandparent Program, said McGuire was definitely deserving of the award.
“She is very outgoing, she loves the children and she is always concerned about doing a good job,” Latham said. “She’s one of those people who always goes above and beyond what they’re asked and we’re glad to have her as part of the program.”
The Foster Grandparent Program serves the counties of Franklin, Colbert, Lauderdale, Marion and Winston and currently has 83 volunteers but Latham said they could always use more people who were willing o give back to the community by helping the children.
For more information about the Foster Grandparent Program, call 256-332-6800.