Catholic Charities Diocese of San Diego’s (CCDSD) Foster Grandparent Program celebrated their 46th Annual Recognition Event on October 18, 2019 in the beautiful hall at St. Pius X Catholic Church. It was a lovely celebration filled with words of appreciation and gratitude for the Foster Grandparents and their service to our communities, children, and youth. The event was well attended by CCDSD administration and the programs 20 school sites. Field Representative Antonio Martinez from the office of Congressman Vargas, further acknowledged the good works of the volunteers. Guests were greeted in the patio with a beautiful appetizer table put together with loving hands of Cynthia Trusso and donated by Sandy Lawrensen, both FGP Advisory Council members. There were two beautifully decorated tables that were covered in door prizes and gifts donated by Advisory Council members and staff.
During the invocation Vino Pajanor, CCDSD’s CEO, praised the Foster Grandparents for their impactful service and encouraged them to continue making a positive difference in the future of the children they serve. He highlighted CCDSD’s mission statement based off “Matthew 25” scripture in relationship to the core values of Catholic Charities and the service provided by Foster Grandparents. Vino also reflected his own closeness to his grandmother and how he treasured the time they spent together to the important role Foster Grandparents play as “Grandma” or “Grandpa” to students.
Fr. Jay Bananal, Pastor of St. Pius X and keynote speaker for the event, spoke of the important roles Foster Grandparents have in the classroom as tutors and mentors. St. Pius X school benefits from the unique contributions of Foster Grandparents who mentor students who need it most. He also referenced the Castle Park area as a Promise Neighborhood and how the grant allows a community wide focus to support our children. Fr. Jay looks forward to enhancing the partnership with Catholic Charities through continued community efforts.
Sharin Yetman, Program Director, and Jose Cruz, the CEO for the San Diego Council on Literacy, acknowledged the volunteer’s efforts; highlighting performance results from the past year and the impact their service had on children’s literacy and comprehension test scores. Foster Grandparents are bringing students from below basic reading to their grade level at a critical point in their education. This program helps students succeed and gives them the tools so they do not struggle academically in higher grades.
The Foster Grandparent Program is funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service. These funds allow Foster Grandparents the opportunity to help the most vulnerable children and help prepare them with tools necessary to succeed in school. The tribute event is CCDSD’s way of honoring our Foster Grandparents and the amazing work they do.