Michigan Association of Foster Grandparent & Senior Companion Programs

Stories of Service

History of Helping Students Succeed

Kay Bernard

Foster Grandparents - Oakland/Macomb Counties

Kay Bernard has been serving in the Foster Grandparent Program (FGP) at Alcott Elementary in Pontiac for 12 years. Her son, Jerry, told her about the benefits for volunteers from what he saw in the senior building that he managed.

Kay shared, “The first group that I worked with - some of them have graduated. I have a photo of all of them in 4th grade when they were little.”  Kay recently saw one of her students from her first year with FGP. “He is going to college and going to church. It makes me feel good that he is doing so well.”

“I volunteer with so many kids. I’ll be at the grocery store and kids will run up and say ‘Look, it’s Miss Kay.’ They all run and hug me. A lot of kids that come to kindergarten need love. I try to show them love. If I can help somebody in anyway, I will.

“The students don’t always get along. I try to talk with them about how to treat each other. I ask God for just one kid to remember something important that I taught them. If I taught them to read, to write, when they grow up remember Miss Kay taught me that.” Kay remembers Miss Clemon, her teacher “taught me to keep the bathroom clean for others – to be thoughtful.”

Kay has two children. Her daughter lives in Grand Blanc. She has four granddaughters ages 16 to 25. Kay has passed on this legacy of service, “My son is always helping the seniors where he works. He dresses as Santa Claus. He takes them shopping.” Kay also exercises every morning, teaches Sunday school and sings in her church choir.