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Press Release

Release Date: March 20, 2018

by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office



The Chickasaw Nation Foster Grandparent Program is providing senior adults with the opportunity to mentor young children in child care and school environments, not only making a lifelong connection with the children but also fulfilling their own emotional needs by giving back.

The program pairs seniors with young children in south-central Oklahoma local public schools, the Chickasaw Nation Child Development Centers and Head Start Centers.

Seniors will spend time with children offering academic support, educational assistance, mentoring and guidance.

Foster grandparent Shirley Brown has found the program to be incredibly rewarding during the 12 years she’s served in the Ardmore area. She first volunteered at the Ardmore Head Start Center and now she is at the Chickasaw Nation Child Development Center.

To the children Brown is known as “Grandma Shirley.”

“The children keep me going,” she said. “They give me plenty of exercise. I really enjoy being around them.”

Brown said her favorite part of being a foster grandparent is learning different things. She said she has learned to be a little more patient through the years.

“It’s not hard for me,” Brown reflected. “I love what I’m doing. Show them kindness; teach them how to write their name, how to paint.

“I still see quite a few of the children that I took care of,” she said. “I’ve been with some of the babies that were two months old and now they are in a room with me trying to walk.”

Volunteers aged 55 or over located within the Chickasaw Nation boundaries qualify. Research shows senior adults who volunteer remain physically and mentally active while increasing their self-esteem through participation in needed community services such as the foster grandparent program.

The program is offered in partnership with Senior Corps, a federally funded program created to benefit seniors and the children they mentor. Volunteers can serve 15 to 40 hours per week.

Participants in the program will receive a modest hourly stipend, daily meals, reimbursement for transportation costs and recognition, as well as the opportunity to have a positive impact on youth in the community.

“I appreciate the program,” Brown said. “It’s a learning experience for me. I’m a great-grandmother to my own grandkids. I love being around children.

For more information, or to volunteer, call the Chickasaw Nation education division at 580-421-7711 or visit www.chickasaw.net/grandparent.

Last Updated: 09/16/2016