Michigan Association of Foster Grandparent & Senior Companion Programs

Stories of Service

Serving through Tech

Grandma Marion

Foster Grandparents - Newaygo County

Grandma Marion Longcore has served in the Catholic Charities West Michigan AmeriCorps Seniors Foster Grandparent program for 21 years this year. When COVID-19 hit and the schools closed, our volunteers were given Chromebooks and training on Zoom. Grandma Marion, in particular, really stepped up and embraced technology. Mrs. Schisel, a kindergarten teacher at Vera Wilsie Elementary School in Newaygo has been with Grandma Marion for several years, and wanted to find a way to bring her into the classroom while protecting her health. In utilizing Zoom and an iPad, Grandma Marion is able to be at home and in the classroom from the start of the school day to the end of it! Grandma Marion has her own chair that the kids place the iPad on and push her around from table to table. They come up and read to Grandma Marion, show her art projects, and take her all over the school. They carry Grandma Marion to gym and lunch so she participates in all aspects of the children’s day! The relationships of the students, teacher and Grandma Marion are able to thrive in the virtual environment, and while she cannot be physically present, she is 100% always there for those students! This is working so well, that our program would love to replicate it in other classrooms throughout Muskegon, Newaygo and Lake counties. Thank you Grandma Marion for your exceptional service!