Michigan Association of Foster Grandparent & Senior Companion Programs

Stories of Service

2018 Governor's Service Award Winner

Doris McCutcheon

Foster Grandparents - Auburn Hills

Foster Grandparent Doris McCutcheon Receives 2018 Governor’s Service Award

One of the first things Doris McCutcheon thought when she learned she was named one of the 2018 Senior Volunteers of the Year by the state of Michigan was how her recognition will inspire others.  McCutcheon is a participant in the Foster Grandparent program administered by Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan (CCSEM). She is one of seven seniors honored with the 2018 Governor’s Service Awards in the Senior Volunteer category.


When asked how she feels to be recognized for her volunteer work, McCutcheon said, “I was honored,” adding quickly, “It will give other people, especially seniors, inspiration to know they can do it too.”


Through the Foster Grandparent program, McCutcheon volunteers as a mentor for first graders at Herrington Elementary School in Pontiac. She has been doing works of service nearly her whole life, working at her childhood church in Cleveland from 1965-68, and after coming to Michigan in the late 1970s, she settled in Pontiac, where she raised her daughter and son and became involved in the local community. She served as PTO president for her children’s school and on the Education Committee of the Pontiac Urban League, was director of the board for the Pontiac Boys & Girls Club, and helped with several programs through her church, Refuge International Ministries.


She attributes her love for service to the example set by her parents. Her father began his retirement volunteering as an auxiliary for the police department in Cleveland, and, like Doris does today, her mother volunteered at local elementary schools. When McCutcheon retired six years ago, she decided to continue in her parent’s footsteps. “I wanted to get involved,” she said. “I did not want to just sit at home and do nothing.”

What would she tell other seniors who might be interested in volunteering for programs like Foster Grandparents? “I would encourage them to give it a try.  Because when I first started, I didn’t see the long road ahead. I just saw the day to day.  And then it grew on me. It gave me something to do that was worthwhile and meaningful. When you see the look in the children’s faces, when the light comes on and they get it, it makes all the difference. You don’t have to have a PhD. You don’t have to have a long list of accolades or awards. All you need is a willing heart to be able to help somebody. The small things you do for others may mean the world in their life.”

To read more about McCutcheon and her award on the CCSEM website, click here. For more information on the Foster Grandparent program, go to https://ccsem.org/senior-citizen-services/foster-grandparent-program/.