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Nana in the NICU: A Foster Grandparent's Tale

by Kate Enos

Women’s History Month is a time to recognize women in service who are leaders in their communities. This month, we’ve shared the stories of students – both young and old, of a Peace Corps volunteer, a live-saving Senior Companion, an AmeriCorps member, and of educators and volunteers.

Today, we bring you the story of a Senior Corps volunteer who gives her time to some of her community’s youngest and most vulnerable members.

In Flint, Michigan, several volunteers in the Foster Grandparent program have taken up residence in the Hurley Medical Center Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to provide extra love and support to the newborns when a parent can’t be there.

Seventy-four year-old Charlotte Davis has spent five years as a Foster Grandparent in the Hurley Medical Center NICU. In addition to a large family of her own, including four children, eight grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren, she manages to spend 20 hours a week as a Foster Grandparent.

“The nurses appreciate our help because they don’t have the time to nurture the babies as much as they’d like and their parents can’t be there all the time,” says Davis.

“I don’t feel any different about one over the other -- I love every single one of them.”

She credits the Foster Grandparent program for keeping her active and involved in the community.

“I couldn’t be happier with the program. Being a foster grandparent makes you feel useful and needed. I think that’s a feeling you lose when we get older – until you get into volunteering.”

Davis is among the many women who inspire us each day to help others. As for her own inspiration, she recognizes the woman who made the greatest impact on her life: her mother.

“My mother made a big difference in my life. She always taught us to give everyone a square deal and give people the benefit the doubt. She made me who I am today.”

 

About Foster Grandparents:

Nationwide, 29,100 Foster Grandparent volunteers delivered 24 million hours of service in their communities last year. These 55-and-older volunteers serve up to 40 hours a week as a role model, mentor, tutor, and friend often engaging in one-on-one tutoring of youth who have fallen behind in school. They also help youth set goals for the future and plan their options, and connect youth with other resources in the community. Learn more about becoming a Foster Grandparent.

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