Foster Grandparents

By: Alana Adams
By: Alana Adams

"If you want to see something that really touches your heart, stand on the ground where 1100 guys were killed. 1100 Americans were killed instantly."
Armando Zumaya was not at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked in 1941, but he remembers what happened next as America went to war.

"Can you imagine how terrifying that would be? That's war. That's war, and it's one of the scariest things."
He told this 6th grade class it was Western Union delivering telegrams that brought fear to everyone on a street.

"You knew what he had. You didn't know who it was for because everybody in the neighborhood had somebody in the service... you knew somebody had died. You knew somebody was going to cry."
Zumaya later served in the Army as a surgical technician during the Korean War, and he says it's crucial for him to tell the stories because they are listening.

"They can sense what I saw, what I experienced at that very moment when our menfolk were being killed or wounded or missing in action. They can sense it."
That's why the Foster Grandparent Program, a non-profit organization in northern Nevada, puts people like Zumaya in classrooms.
Zumaya says he, too, is learning.

"How long did the war go on?"
"About 4 1/2 years."

"You could almost see their needs in their eyes. I'm like a sponge and I absorb it all in and they also are like sponges. They take it all, everything I've got, they take it."

Foster grandparents are not your typical volunteers, they are required to work at least 20 hours a week... and are given a small stipend for volunteer expenses.
If you are interested in getting involved with the program, you can go to the website at www.fostergrandparents.nv.com.


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