Finding Their Place in This World

6291_SSg Nelson Adoption Photo

Andrew and his wife, Kelly, knew one day they’d be parents. After having two biological children, adoption wasn’t part of the plan. Then one night they were captivated by news coverage of a tsunami in Asia that made them acutely aware of the plight of orphans everywhere.

“The broadcast was riddled with stories of children who became orphans overnight,” Andrew recalled. The couple felt compelled to do more than send donations. They were moved to create a loving home for several children in need. “Without skipping a beat, we decided to take some of these kids into our home and into our family.”

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A Perfect Double Storm

IMG_9455 Trautman family

Andrea Trautman was at work with her newborn baby an hour away from home when the twin tornadoes merged into one massive funnel cloud and slammed into her community. Meanwhile, Andrea’s brother raced against the storm to pick up his sister’s older children, Graycen and Ashlyn, from daycare and get them safely to their grandparents’ house — a home built to withstand the severe weather the prairies can bring. Cuddling her newborn and following the path of the tornado from afar, Andrea listened as the storm headed for her parents’ house. Her husband, Levi, was also working that day and following the path of the storm.

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Grandma Charlotte Loves Supporting Students

Blog FullSize Grandma CharlotteGrandma Charlotte Kasor came to the U.S. in the1990’s from Liberia. Wanting to stay busy and find new purpose in retirement, she became a Foster Grandparent ten years ago. She works primarily with kindergartners on literacy skills, and with those who need individualized attention. She also spends time helping children in the classroom so that the teacher can continue her lesson to the broader class.

Excell Academy for Higher Learning is a charter school in Brooklyn Park with a diverse group of children, 95% of whom are eligible for free and reduced lunches. They are doing whatever it takes to close the achievement gap and encourage students to reach and exceed academic and social expectations. Excell utilizes the talents of six LSS Foster Grandparents at least twenty hours per week. They provide academic, social and emotional support.

Excell Director Ms. Williams says that Foster Grandparents support teachers and allow them to do their work in closing the achievement gap. The volunteers give their hearts and knowledge to students, strengthening both their education skills and confidence.

There is something special about the intergenerational bond. Grandma Charlotte is truly a leader who creates lasting relationships with the students, staff and other volunteers. She says that being a Foster Grandma gives her a sense of accomplishment. She sees the difference she makes in the children’s reading and socializing.

It has also made a huge impact in her own life. She says, “So many seniors sit at home, watch TV, and make trips to the refrigerator. This allows me to stay busy and useful.

It keeps me young and moving! These children make me happy every day.”

Love to Spare

Haas-family

Julie Haas wanted a different kind of childcare for her children.  “kids need to be respected for the little humans they are,” she said.  When Julie wasn’t able to find a place where love and acceptance were chiefly important, she created one. For more than 20 years, Julie and her husband, Brian, have run a childcare center out of their home.

We’ve become comfortable with chaos,” said Julie. “My hope is that each child who comes into my home is set to become a wonderful, caring person.”

When she heard about the opportunity to serve as foster parents for Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, Julie jumped at the chance. “I’m known as Momma Haas,” she said. “My door is always open to people looking for support and extra love.”

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