09/11/05 — Foster Grandparents honored at Red Rose Tea

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Foster Grandparents honored at Red Rose Tea

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on September 11, 2005 2:04 AM

WAGES' Foster Grandpar-ents were honored for their contribution as volunteers working with children on Friday.

The 11th annual "Red Rose Tea" was held at First African Baptist Church, with several dignitaries on hand to pay tribute to the 120 senior citizens involved in the program.

"I'm tickled to be your chairman," said Jimmie Ford, master of ceremonies and chairman of the Foster Grandparents advisory council. "Any time the Foster Grandparents come about, I just smile."

Ford said that the thing that stood out most about the group was, "You're all about loving children."

Amidst a sea of red jackets and vests, the Foster Grandparents' signature color, Dr. Craig McFadden of Wayne County Public Schools and chairman of the WAGES Board of Directors commented, "It's great to come here and see so many N.C. State fans."

He then applauded them for working with children because "it lasts such a long time."

The festivities, which began at 9:30 a.m., were interrupted promptly at 10 for Goldsboro Mayor Al King to toast the volunteers.

"I want you to know that I draw strength and inspiration from you," he said. "Volunteers throughout this city, throughout this county, are very special. I love you.

"And especially those who are out there trying to make the lives of our young people better....giving them a foundation for life, because if you don't have a foundation for life, you don't stand very long."

He acknowledged the importance of the group's efforts to help young people.

"I know young people are our future and God knows they need direction; they need support," he said.

June Monk, administrator of the Foster Grandparents and Senior Companions programs, said the first Foster Grandparents program in the nation was introduced 40 years ago and started 33 years ago in Wayne County.

The seniors, 60 years old and older, work an average of 20 hours a week providing one-on-one assistance to children with special and exceptional needs.

The first "Red Rose Tea" was held 11 years ago across the nation to recognize all Foster Grandparents at the same time, 10 a.m., she said. The local tradition has continued.

Guest speaker for the event was Board of Education member Shirley Sims. She apologized for arriving late to the luncheon because she had recorded the wrong date. She said when Mrs. Monk phoned to remind her Friday morning, she was readying for volunteer duties at the hospital and could leave right then.

"I did not want to miss this opportunity to speak to you," she told the audience. "This is a great organization and it warms my heart every time I get to speak to you."

Weighing what her message would be, she said she preferred speaking without notes, anyway.

"You should always have a word on the inside," she said. "No matter where you go....which needs to be a word from the Lord. That word ought to be on the inside of you."

She challenged the group to continue their nurturing roles, even to those in other communities.

"We all can't go to Alabama, Mississippi, New Orleans, and many of us don't have the means or the money," she said. "But there's one thing that you can do during this trying time and it won't cost you anything. Pray."

J.D. Evans, chairman of the board of commissioners, also paid tribute to the efforts of those willing to work with young people.

"When they write the history of our times, I would want them to write that these people helped to do everything to help the children in Wayne County," he said.