Foster Grandparent, Arlene Rudningen

At the age of 75, Arlene Rudningen retired from Kerkhoven/Murdock/Sunburg Elementary after 23 years there as a paraprofessional. She took a year off and realized "there’s got to be more to retirement than this." So, she contacted the Foster Grandparent Program and starting volunteering at KMS Elementary in September of 2004. Since then, Arlene has volunteered the maximum number of hours allowable.

Previous to beginning her service, Arlene had fallen and broken a front tooth and did not have money for dental work. She thought the small stipend for being a Foster Grandparent would help, but more importantly, she was "lonesome for the kids" and said "I'll die if I have to look at the same four walls every day."

After starting her service, Arlene became so ill that no one, especially her doctor, thought she would survive. She was housebound, had a public health nurse, and received Meals on Wheels. However, she would not give in to her illness and was determined to "get back to the kids."

Healthy again, Arlene still volunteers as many hours as possible. She loves the students and they love her. As she walks the lunchroom, kids call out “Hi, Grandma! Hi, Grandma Arlene!” She can't contain herself and says “I just love these kids. It’s what keeps me going!”

-Arlene Rudningen