Foster grandparents honored with Friday luncheon at Todd Center

By Staff
Jonathan Willis FCT Staff Writer
For almost 30 years, students in Franklin County schools have been greeted with sweet smiling faces each day.
And no, it's not always the teachers doing the smiling. Since 1976, foster grandparents have been volunteering four hours a day, five days a week to help with the local schools in Franklin, Colbert, Lauderdale, Marion and Winston counties.
Friday morning the volunteers were treated to their annual banquet at the A.W. Todd Center in Russellville. The luncheon included the naming of the foster grandparents of the year.
For the first time in the program's history, there were two winners of the award this year.
The winners were selected by an outside source who read letters of recommendation from the various teachers. Although the names of the volunteers were not known to the judges, the results were strangely similar: Mr. John Perkins and Mrs. Johnnie Perkins. The two are not related.
Mrs. Perkins has been working as foster grandparent for 22 years. At the age of 84, Mrs. Perkins' letter of recommendation suggests that she is full of energy and a vital part of the learning experience for the Ableworks Class II at Burrell Slater School in the Shoals area.
Mr. Perkins has been serving the students of Hibbett Middle School in Florence for the past three years.
The program includes 96 volunteers from the five county area that work at 26 different work sites, including day care centers and drug and alcohol programs.
The program receives government funding, but they still rely heavily on support from the local municipalities and counties.
Money donated to the program and raised through fund-raisers, such as the sale of cookbooks which is about to begin, allow county students to get the classroom help they need.

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