Recognition for volunteers, workers

Reading is an excellent way to pass the time on wintry days when the temperature dances around zero. Anna Tipton, Harrison North Elementary School second-grade teacher in Scio, planned a guest readers program that started during the first part of the school year and met with such great success that it is carrying into the new year.

The first reader in January was Mardi Barnhart, a retired teacher from Harrison Hills City School District. She told the pupils that Miss Tipton was booked up until the first of the year with the popular reading-to-the- students program.

She read four books, including, “Snow,” by Cynthia Ryland; “Snow! Snow! Snow!” by Lee Harper; and “The Nonsense Show” by Eric Carle. During the reading of the books, she had students tell her what was nonsense about the pictures on the pages and called on students to read the page from the book to tell what the nonsense was. She wrapped up her visit with the book, “Elephants of Africa” by Gail Gibbons.

The program was most enjoyable for the students and Barnhart.

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The luncheon for the COAD Area I volunteers from the counties of Belmont, Carroll, Coshocton, Guernsey, Harrison, Holmes, Jefferson, Muskingum and Tuscarawas, designated by the Ohio Department of Aging under the federal Older Americans Act, reminded all present how much the older citizens do for others.

Here are some of the highlights:

Area I Foster Grandparents, who were celebrating a 50-year anniversary as well, served 54,556 hours mentoring children assigned and supervised by the teaching staff. They drove 108,754 miles or were reimbursed $2,735 for the non-drivers to get to and from their homes to the sites on community van services.

The volunteers mentored 215 children, allowing them to reach their personal full potential of learning.

There were 12 foster grandparents and one senior companion attending Belmont College working toward their associate degree in early childcare. They worked a total of 4,864 hours during an eight-week period. This completes 22 years of volunteers attending classes. Last year, Margaret Ferrell of Harrison County received her degree from the Belmont College.

Nine foster grandparents worked in local libraries helping children at the summer reading programs. They had reading sessions, crafts and some even helped with the children’s entertainment period. They served 1,572 hours.

Two foster grandparent volunteers served two special needs intervention classrooms for HARCATUS Head Start program and a local mental health organization for high risk children ages 3 to 7. They served 360 hours helping the cause. The senior companions served 19,743 hours helping clients remain independent and in their own homes or apartments. They drove 28,387 miles and were paid $1,232.50 for local van services to get to and from their homes.

Both program volunteers attended monthly training in-services averaging 65 hours each per year. The agenda brought in speakers, video and paper education to help volunteers with their duties, health and life which can be shared with others.

As Guisti said, “You are all ‘stars’ in our eyes.”

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Flora Ver Stratten Merrin made the holiday luncheon for the Silver Sneakers members and their guests special with her “guess-the-babies” picture contest. It is interesting to see the very young pictures of the recipients and see who they have become now. You can see lots of wisdom and skills in those faces and hands.

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Can you image going five years without a lost time accident at work? That is what employees of the Carroll Electric Cooperative in Carrollton did since 2010. I can’t go a week without getting a bruise on my knee from opening my desk drawer too hard or shutting my finger in a drawer. I guess those tiny calamities don’t count. It is the big accidents that they refrained from for all that time. They were treated to a breakfast at the Carrollton Ponderosa for their efforts.

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I saw Ann Zullo at the COAL Area I luncheon, and she thought she would stump me in guessing who she was. I didn’t remember her first name but I remembered her last name being Rock when we went to Smithfield High School. She is younger than me though. She has worked as a volunteer foster grandparent for 10 years. Good for her.