Volunteers honored at annual celebrations

FHSU Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion Program
Betty Cadoret, Stockton, celebrating 25 years as a Senior Companion with Jessica Shank, Program Coordinator for the Senior Companion Program.
Jackie Pritchard, Senior Companion from Hoisington with Advisory Council Member Bill Ring.
Marilyn Stoffel, Foster Grandparent from Victoria with Dr. Jeff Briggs, Dean of the College of Health and Behavioral Sciences and Sponsor Representative.
Jackie Pritchard, Senior Companion from Hoisington with Advisory Council Member Bill Ring.

On June 17, 2021, AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers serving with the Fort Hays State University Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion programs gathered together for the first time in over a year to be honored for their dedicated service to the communities they serve.

COVID-19 has limited normal services, still, AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers have continued to seek out safe ways to make a positive impact on others. Throughout the past year, Senior Companions served homebound seniors by assisting with grocery shopping, helped with transportation to medical appointments, eased feelings of isolation by visiting on porches, through doors or while wearing masks, made wellness calls and partnered with the Northwest Kansas Agency on Aging to write “Friendship Cards” to seniors receiving home delivered meals. Similarly, Foster Grandparents were not able to serve one-on-one with children in the classroom, so they became pen pals with students from grade school through high school, they helped teachers prepare classroom lessons, read books to preschoolers by video and helped serve lunches to students.

The FHSU Foster Grandparent program marked the day with a brunch and recognition of AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers celebrating Milestone Anniversaries. Foster Grandparents honored for 5 years of service were: Glen Buss, Stockton; Carol Hilmes, WaKeeney; and Marilyn Stoffel, Victoria. Those honored for serving for 10 years: were Shirley Gordon, WaKeeney; Ann Harris, Dodge City; and Rose Smith, Stockton.

Senior Companion volunteers enjoyed lunch and also celebrated Milestone Anniversaries. AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers honored for serving 5 years were: Ivan Brasted, Logan; Adrienne Cargile, Hays; Theresa Hall, Great Bend; Judy Nelson, Quinter; Phyllis Robertson, Hays; and Pat Scheuerman, Great Bend. 10-year celebrants were, Pat Bieker, Ellis; Ellie Elsen, Dodge City; Sandra House, Hays; Elna

Kollman, Stockton; Arlene Schlyer, Hays; and Mac Woods, Dodge City. Jackie Prichard of Hoisington was honored for serving 15 years with the program. Millie Karlin, Hays, has served as a Senior Companion for 20 years, and Betty Cadoret, Stockton was honored for 25 years of service.

As an AmeriCorps grantee, Fort Hays State University is dedicated to positively impacting the social needs of communities in our region and have sponsored the Foster Grandparent Program for 24 years and the Senior Companion Program for 47 years. Volunteers serving in these programs improve lives and strengthen communities through their service.

Support for these programs is also provided by many of the cities and counties in which volunteers serve. AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers with the FHSU Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion Programs serve in Barton, Ellis, Ford, Gove, Graham, Hodgeman, Logan, Ness, Pawnee, Phillips, Rooks, Rush, Russell, and Trego counties.

AmeriCorps, a federal agency, brings people together to tackle the country's most pressing challenges through national service and volunteering. AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers serve with organizations dedicated to the improvement of communities. AmeriCorps helps make service to others a cornerstone of our national culture. Learn more at AmeriCorps.gov.

To find out how you can volunteer, contact us at 785-628-5809 or srcomp@fhsu.edu.