Foster grandparent helps students in Parramore neighborhood

Elois Lee, 84, volunteers every day at Orlando Day Nursery

Every day at Orlando Day Nursery in the Parramore neighborhood, you'll find 84-year-old Elois Lee busy in Mr. Chris's pre-kindergarten class. She says each day she walks through a sea of hugs to get to her classroom.

"I'm all about hugs. That's how I show my love for people," Lee said.

Once she steps into the school, she's known as Grandma Elois.

"And they appreciate me. They say 'I have another grandma, but you're still my grandma, too,'" Lee said.

Lee is a foster grandparent. The program is coordinated through Volunteers For Community Impact. Lee has been volunteering for eight years.

"This is the best program you will find. There's nothing stressful for you. It keeps your mind active," she said.

Lee's days involve helping to serve breakfast and lunch, as well as working one-on-one with students.

"These children are so needy. You wouldn't believe the things they go through overnight and sometimes in the morning. They haven't had lunch. They haven't had dinner. This is the only meal some of them get. No clothes. This is an impoverished community."

Before volunteering, Lee spent 22 years working for Orange County Public Schools. She tells News 6 she worked in the hospitality department.

"It was to teach students the value of life and how to take care of themselves," Lee said.

She says those skills translate well to her current position and when a student is having an especially difficult day, she likes to give them a gentle reminder.

"You know what, you're worth something. You're a good person. You're not, you're not what people might think you are. You're a good person," Lee said.

If you'd like to learn more about the foster grandparent program, click here.


About the Author: