Volunteer Spotlight: Foster Grandparent Essie Theyard

Published on April 13, 2017

Essie Theyard has completed 17 years of service to Catholic Charities’ Foster Grandparent Program! She began volunteering in 1999 as a tutor, mentor and volunteer at the Methodist Home for Children, which provided a broad range of services including therapeutic foster care, home-based services, out-patient counseling and residential treatment services for children and families experiencing crises, emotional stress and relationship problems.

Essie Theyard

Ms. Essie Theyard

In 2007, Ms. Essie began volunteering at James Singleton Charter School, where she still serves today. She works one-on-one with students in a classroom setting, assisting them with literacy skills, social and emotional issues, developmental skills, self-esteem and engagement. She spends 6 hours every school day tutoring the children and providing positive reinforcement, which increases self-esteem and makes them feel loved and supported.

Ms. Essie, who has a college degree in English and Speech, taught English to ninth and tenth graders for years before becoming a foster grandparent. Her experience and knowledge allow her to help the students improve both their written and spoken English skills.

For Ms. Essie, it’s the little things about being a foster grandparent that are the most enjoyable. She says, “The best part of the day is just sitting down right next to them while they do their seat work. I help them with their letters and their words. I can help them get their handwriting straight.”

In her time at James Singleton Charter School, Ms. Essie has received an outstanding rating every year from the teachers there. One teacher commented, “Ms. Essie is a pleasure to work with. She helps the children complete their work very effectively and improves their self-esteem. She understands the needs of children with special problems.”

A wonderful person both inside and out, Ms. Essie truly understands the commitment of helping others and always shares her joy for the work with those around her. Thank you for your service, Ms. Essie!