GALLOWAY, N.J. – Gateway Community Action Partnership hosted its second annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon at Seaview Hotel & Golf Club in Galloway on May 17th. More than 120 volunteers and foster grandparents gathered to receive recognition for their service and dedication to Gateway CAP during the 2018-2019 year.
The Foster Grandparent Program (FGP) provides a way for volunteers age 55 and over to stay active by serving children and youth in their communities. Foster Grandparents are role models, mentors, and friends to children with exceptional needs. Foster Grandparents serve an average of 20 hours per week volunteering in locations including schools, daycare facilities, or Head Start centers.
During the 2018-2019 program year, Gateway received federal funding to expand its Foster Grandparent Program into Salem, Gloucester, Camden and Burlington counties. The Foster Grandparent Program (FGP), which was taken over by Gateway earlier this year, has provided more than 48,800 hours of volunteer service year to date.
“To all of our Foster Grandparents, we cannot thank you enough,” said Edward Bethea, Gateway’s Executive Vice President and COO. “Our Foster Grandparents are a tremendous resource for our Head Start program. The additional help you provide is our number one asset in the classroom. Our little ones are excited to see you every single day and when they don’t see you, they are disappointed. On behalf of our President and CEO (Albert B. Kelly), our board of directors and our Head Start program, we thank you, we salute you and we ask that you keep doing the great job that you’re doing.”
Along with Bethea, the luncheon was attended by Gateway’s President and CEO Albert Kelly, Gateway board chairman John Washington, board member Dr. Terrance Hardee, board member Ed Diehl, NJ State Assemblyman John Armato, CNCS Program Administrator Andrea New, Gateway Vice President/Head Start Bonnie Eggenburg, Lead Foster Grandparent Program Director Natalia Uribe and Policy Council Chairman Janie Barnes.
“One of the most pivotal aspects of our classrooms are volunteers like you who come into the classroom and provide love and care,” said Bonnie Eggenburg, HS/EHS Vice President. “Today’s three, four, or five year old in the classroom is going to be tomorrow’s graduate. You all had something to do with that. We thank you for the time you have committed to our children, to the fun and the love you bring into the classroom.”
Albert Kelly, President and CEO of Gateway, stated: “You are making a difference. The children that you come in contact with know that they are loved. They look forward to seeing you because they know that they are loved. I thank you for the work that you are doing volunteering as part of the Gateway family. We are called to make a difference in the world, and this is how you are all making a difference.”
Each Foster Grandparent received a certificate and a gift for participation in the program. Included in the luncheon was a special award presentation given by Assemblyman John Armato from the NJ State Legislature. Armato presented each volunteer with a citation, honoring them for their commitment as a volunteer in the Foster Grandparent Program.
Natalia Uribe, Lead FGP Director, presented NJ State Assemblyman John Armato and Andrea New, NJ CNCS Program Officer with paintings made by Head Start students. Patrick Fennell served as the events keynote speaker.
The event included remarks, presentation of certificates, entertainment and dancing, photo booth, lunch and gifts.