New wheels getting seniors and students together to read

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OREM — Close to 100 seniors in the Utah County Foster Grandparents program have the time and desire to tutor, but many have no way to get to there.

"Many of them would be home-bound and not be able to participate or be involved," explained Cheri Christensen, foster grandparent coordinator.

But Christensen and other program coordinators purchased new vans with grant money, and now transportation is not an obstacle.

The new service will benefit seniors like 90-year-old grandmother Leah Parker. She has 65 grandchildren of her own, but for four hours a day, five days a week, all the students at Scera Park Elementary in Orem call her grandma.

"She's really nice and fun to read with because she's my grandma," fourth-grader Paige Mauerman said.

At 90 years old, getting to and from the school has become difficult. But now with a ride, the students aren't the only ones who benefit.

"I don't have a lot to do, so I'm very, very grateful," Parker said.

"I think it's cool because whenever you're stuck on a word, she'll help," said fourth-grader Duce Anderson. "And if you're sad, she'll make you laugh."

Parker works with the students on pronunciation and reading timing. She also gets the occasional student that likes to tell her "stories."

"There is this one boy, he's so cute. He always plays like his twin brother and I don't think he has a twin brother," Parker laughed.

Though, she doesn't know how many years she'll get to keep visiting her "grandchildren" at Scera Park Elementary School, she wants to leave them with one message: "It's important, all your life, you need to read."

CLICK HERE for more information on Utah County's Foster Grandparent program.



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Nadine Wimmer


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