Rain or shine, Clyde Louise Adams makes her way to the Head Start site in Ravenna, where she has served as a Foster Grandparent for 12 years, tutoring and mentoring preschoolers. And, turning 90, she has no plans to stop.
Mrs. Adams travels to the Portage Learning Centers site three days a week, taking the door-to-door PARTA bus from her apartment, and works for five to six hours assisting 3- to 5-year-olds with literacy and math skills and social/emotional growth. A faithful volunteer, she has to be encouraged not to venture out during extreme winter weather, otherwise she would be there for her students.
She takes pride in her students and remembers many of them. They remember her, too. Last spring, one of her first students, who is now in high school, learned that she was still serving at Head Start. He bought a bouquet of flowers and surprised her on the playground, telling her how he remembered her and how thankful he was that she was his “grandma.”
Mrs. Adams has faced great challenges, adversity and tragedy in her life, but has kept “running the race.” She put herself through school while raising her family and became a nurse at the VA hospital in Cleveland.
“She is a role model, not only for her Head Start students, but for people of all ages and backgrounds,” said Julie Nan, Foster Grandparent program coordinator for Geauga, Portage and Stark Counties. “She is not only a remarkable person but, we think, a national treasure.”
Mrs. Adams recently was honored for her service during a celebration at Bryn Mawr Glen in Ravenna sponsored by Family & Community Services, Inc., Foster Grandparents, Portage Learning Centers and PARTA. Claudia Amrhein, general manager of PARTA, and Denise Bergman of Portage Learning Centers presented her with gift baskets. She also received commendations from Gov. John Kasich, Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, Congressman Tim Ryan, Ravenna Mayor Frank Seman and Family & Community Services, Inc. A special letter came from 94-year-old former President George H.W. Bush, welcoming her to the Nonagenarians Club.
Sharing in the celebration were Ravenna Giant Eagle, Kent Acme, Ravenna Dairy Queen, Mimi’s Italian Deli, Woodsy’s Music in Kent, Kathy Brand and Linda Seeman.
If you are 55 or older and would like information about how you can serve local public schools and Head Start students in Portage County like Mrs. Adams does, contact Julie Nan, Foster Grandparents program coordinator, at 330-617-4765 or [email protected].