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Foster grandparents recognized for their service

DUNCAN, Okla._Foster grandparents, it's not something you hear everyday, but there are several in our area who are working to make a difference in the lives of foster children.

The Delta Community Action Foster Grandparent program held their annual recognition luncheon Friday in Duncan. The group came together to celebrate their senior citizen volunteers who are serving as mentors to kids right here in classrooms across southwest Oklahoma.

The foster grandparent program is what directors call "inter-generational magic." It teams senior citizens up with young students who are in need all across the board from those who are struggling to read to those who just need a positive influence in their lives for a few hours a day. But kids aren't the only ones who are reaching their potential, proving that the program is a rising star in southwest Oklahoma.

Margie Louis is a retired employee of Lawton Public Schools, not long after hanging up her career she knew she couldn't stray far from the classroom.

"I work at Midway Head Start. I work with 3-4 year olds. I love the hugs you get, I love all the love you get from the kids, just being around them," said Louis.

It's that interaction that program director, Mynan Hutto, says creates a special bond between both student and mentor.

"There's just something about grandparents and children that is special that the teachers will tell you and the parents will...these kids that we can't reach...grandma or grandpa can reach them," explained Hutto.

Now the federally-funded program is getting some serious support from around the state.

"They put in something like 330,000 hours helping our kids. They're compensated in a small way, but we get more bang for our buck in this program than almost any other program I can think of," said House Majority Leader, State Representative Dennis Johnson.

As the program reaches new heights, organizers are confident more lives will be touched for years to come.

"The kids...they think they get the big deal out of it, but the grandparents think they get more out of it...its just a beautiful program," said Hutto.

"It means what we set out to do is done. We accomplished what we set out to do," said Louis.

So far, the Delta Community Action Foster Grandparent Program has around 70 volunteers as of right now with 28 different schools and centers in and around Stephens, Comanche and several other counties in the state.

For more information on the Delta Community Action Foster Grandparent Program, you can contact the organization at 580-255-3222.

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