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Catholic Charities Specials

Catholic Charities’ Foster Grandparents dinner honors outstanding and longtime service participants


Two special awards and awards for years of service were presented to Foster Grandparents during the Catholic Charities’ Foster Grandparents recent recognition event.

Jasmine Tandoi, Foster Grandparent Program supervisor, presents Susette Mines with the Foster Grandparent of Year. (Photo courtesy of Catholic Charities)

Recipients of the Foster Grandparent of the Year and the Henry Osinski Community Service Award were honored at the event. Several Foster Grandparents were also recognized for five, 10 and 15 years of service.

This year’s Foster Grandparent of the Year Award was given to Susette Mines of Buffalo, who works at Buffalo City Mission Cornerstone Manor. Mines was nominated by her grateful teachers and students in the pre-K classroom where she assists.

Foster Grandparents develop one-on-one relationships with children ages 3-18 by tutoring, mentoring and offering caring support to special and exceptional needs children in an educational setting.

The Henry Osinski Community Service Award was awarded to Michael Ernst, kindergarten to eighth-grade physical education and health teacher at BPS #3, D’Youville Porter Campus. Ernst, nominated by his colleague Carmen Rivera, was recognized for the compassionate teacher he is and the many ways he goes above and beyond to support students. He resides in Cheektowaga.

This year’s event also honored longtime volunteers, all of Buffalo – Five years: Almeda Jackson; 10 years: Cynthia Brady, Willie Felder and Annie Lashley; and 15 years: Dorothy Bozeman and Mildred Thomas.

Foster Grandparents volunteer between 15 and 40 hours each week and draw from personal wisdom and experience to help children meet social, academic and developmental goals under the supervision of teachers and center directors. All volunteers must be at least 55 years old and receive a small stipend.

Michael Ernst (second from left) receives his Foster Grandparent Teacher Award. With him is Elizabeth Murphy, Foster Grandparent Program Volunteer Coordinator; Carmen Rivera,  nominator; and Jasmine Tandoi, Foster Grandparent Program supervisor. (Photo courtesy of Catholic Charities)

In 2021, Foster Grandparents dedicated more than 46,000 hours in educational settings across Erie County, including two Head Start sites, two after school programs, and 16 Buffalo public schools. 

For more information or to request an application to become a Foster Grandparent, call 716-896-6388, or visit our website at ccwny.org/older-adults.