The Foster Grandparent Program of Utah County recently honored volunteers involved with the program, at the 24th Annual Recognition Banquet sponsored by the Nebo School District in Spanish Fork.

Service-award honorees are Charles J. Dearing, director of the program for the past 20 years; Julia S. Berkhimer and Vivian Smith, who have been with the program for 10 years; Claire Knight, Ethel Lucas, Dorothy Pearson, Eleanor Trower and Opal Webb, all five-year awards; LeOra Knuteson, Elna B. Laws, Thelma Lawson, Beverly S. Lunt, ElDean McClain and Helen Wilson, three-year awards.Special mentions went to Allie Cardon, 16 years; Erma Christensen, 16 years; Lillian Sorensen, 16 years; Isabell Aston, 22 years.

Foster Grandparents, said Charles Dearing, director, are working in Utah County because of the large amount of local support not only from the community but from the County Commissioners who sponsor the program.

Foster Grandparents work in various locations throughout the county including the Utah State Hospital; Utah State Training School; Provo School District; Orem Community Hospital; Nebo School District; Alpine School District; Utah Valley Regional Medical Center; Detention Center; and Youth Corrections.

The Utah County Foster Grandparent Program began at the Utah State Training School as a one-year research and demonstration program in September 1965 and was one of the original 20 projects in the nation.

At the end of the first year an extension was given and Theodore Rees was hired as the director. The program during this extension was funded through the Office of Economic Opportunity. In 1967 the program was funded by Community Action and later by the Mountainlands Association of Governments. After one year with Mountainlands, the Utah County Commission took over and has continued that sponsorship during the 1970s and 80s. In 1969 Dearing became the director.

According to Dearing, Foster Grandparents help in such ways as teaching kindergarten to second-grade students how to read and study while in the classroom. Others help at detention centers working with teens who need a grandparent-type influence.

"It is very rewarding and a wonderful thing to be involved in," Dearing said.

Senior citizens interested in volunteering for the Foster Grandparent Program may contact Charles Dearing at 100 E. Center, Provo or by calling 370-8384.