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Goodbye, ‘Grandma Florence’

Frueh spent 18 years helping out at Ely, and plans to continue serving as a Foster Grandparent in Bismarck

April 9, 2010
Edie Wurgler

Last month Ely Elementary said goodbye to an old friend.

Florence Frueh, who has volunteered at the school for 18 years, was honored at a farewell party March 29. "Grandma Florence" as she is known to students and teachers alike served the school as part of the Foster Grandparents Program out of Grand Forks. When she first volunteered she worked with students in grades kindergarten through three, but more recently has helped in kindergarten through grade two.

Teacher Gail Rham has worked with Florence for many years.

"She's done a little bit of everything," Gail said. "Practicing spelling words, reading with kids, flash cards, helping with painting. She's zipped an awful lot of jackets and tied an awful lot of shoes."

Ely Principal Jason Gullickson hates to see Florence leave. "She is great," he said. "She will be sorely missed."

Eighty-four-year-old Florence will be moving to Bismarck to be closer to her daughter, but she won't be ending her volunteer work. "I just prayed that I could do this work in Bismarck, too," Frueh said, "and the Lord has done it."

Fact Box

Foster Grandparents needed at Ely Elementary

With Grandma Florence Frueh moving to Bismarck, Ely Elementary is left without a foster grandparent, a void they would love to fill.

The Foster Grandparent Program is administered through the Northeast Human Service Center in Grand Forks.

Volunteers can work 15-40 hours per week, with 20-25 hours being average. Transportation is provided, the worksite provides a meal, and a small stipend is paid to cover incidental expenses the volunteer might have. The stipend is not reportable income and doesn't interfere with housing assistance, social security payments, heating assistance or any other program the person may be on.

To learn more about the program or to become a volunteer, call the Human Service Center at 1-888-256-6742 and ask for Karen or Margaret.

Ely Elementary staff would also be happy to visit about the program with prospective foster grandparents. The Ely phone number is 776-5757.

-Edie Wurgler

Her daughter's neighbor is on the Bismarck school board and worked out the details. Florence will volunteer at the school her great-grandchildren attend. The school bus will pick her up, just as it has in Rugby all these years.

Florence says she will miss her Rugby students, and knows they will miss her, but she's sure she will come to love the Bismarck kids just as much.

"God knows everything," she said. "It's just wonderful how it all worked out."



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