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Foster Grandparents offer kids a positive role model

Osakis has five volunteers who participate in the Foster Grandparent Program: (left to right) Joyce Uhlenkamp, Ruth Hinnenkamp, Charmaine Hartmann, Kathy Bowman and Diane Waltzing (not pictured). Contributed photo1 / 2
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New clothes are bought, backpacks are prepared and buses are boarded as children begin the journey of a new school year.

They are not alone in their preparations. Two hundred Foster Grandparent senior volunteers across central Minnesota will also be back serving in local schools, Head Starts and other non-profit agencies.

In Alexandria, there are three Foster Grandparent volunteers: Rosalia Ray, Rosalie Thoen and Lois Peterson.

Osakis has five volunteer grandmas: Joyce Uhlenkamp, Ruth Hinnenkamp, Charmaine Hartmann, Kathy Bowman and Diane Waltzing.

Foster Grandparents spend 15 to 40 hours per week helping children in schools, early education programs, residential facilities and other nonprofit agencies.

They often work with children to improve reading skills, increase their understanding of math concepts, and provide extra attention and support to those that are falling behind.

These volunteers become role models for the students they mentor.

Senior Corps, which is under the direction of the Corporation for National and Community Service, consists of the Foster Grandparent Program, the Senior Companion Program, and the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program.

The Central Minnesota Foster Grandparent Program is sponsored by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Cloud.

For information on the Foster Grandparent Program or becoming a Foster Grandparent, contact Pat Scherf, area supervisor, at (320) 293-0682 or