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2nd Graders Fostering A Grandparent - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

2nd Graders Fostering A Grandparent

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A group of seniors celebrated their last visit with a second grade class, and we're not talking about high schoolers. Senior citizens are part of the Ulen Hitterdal Schools "Foster a Grandparent" program.

Today the second grade class that's been visiting them all school year-long said their goodbyes.

The smiles have been growing all year. Second grade students adopted a grandparent, and as the school year goes on, their friendships do as well.

"Teacher must be just as smart as the kids, cuz the kids know everything. Haha" laughs Earl Rogers who's an adopted grandparent this year.

"You can just tell that their eyes light up, when they can walk into that nursing home and make eye contact with the person they are going to visit with that day and they can continue on their relationship with." says Mrs. Maesse the 2nd Grade teacher.

Ulen Hitterdal has been doing this program for over 20 years. Each student gets a 'Grandparent' from the Viking Manor Nursing Home, who they get to visit once a month.

"It was really fun to meet them, and making art projects with them." says 2nd grader Drew Jacobson. His classmates agree.

"We would make art projects, and talk with them and read them our book if we had time." says Allison Groth who's also in the 2nd grade.

It's a program that gives seniors some extra visitors, at the same time teaches the kids life lessons.

"Actually enriches their vocabulary," Mrs. Maesse says, "because they are having more conversations and being able to use more words, it teaches our second graders empathy, it just really also opens them up to being accepting to people who may be different than them."

This Wednesday the seniors got more hand crafted gifts to take home with them, and although it was the end of the visits, the smiles showed that for some it won't be their last.

"I gotta give you a hug before I go," says Earl, "take care too now." He says as he hugs his 'foster grandchild' Reed Klemetson goodbye.

Teachers say the 'Foster a Grandparent' program continues to educate the students, and the school plans to continue it for years to come.

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