Foster Grandparents, Eduard and Natalya Vazemiller

In 1998, Eduard and Natalya Vazemiller came to the United States from their home country of Kazakhstan and city of Karagande. For almost four decades, Eduard had been a coal miner, working underground 12 hours a day, seven days a week, and with five or fewer days off in a year. Natalya had worked 35 years as a literature and history teacher of middle and high school students.

Now they are both Foster Grandparents at Whittier School. Together, Eduard and Natalya contribute close to 40 hours per week, living the same work ethic they had in Karagande.

Eduard can be found five days per week in his Kindergarten classroom. He reads with the children, helps them in preparing projects, and sometimes goes with them on field trips. Teacher Angie Olson speaks of his dedication, saying “Eduard is amazing! The students and I love him, and we really could not function without his help. He is particularly effective with shy, sad kids and students with behavior problems. He has a way of being able to comfort them and redirect them. Amazing! Thank you!”

Natalya can be found in Ms. Latterell’s 2nd grade classroom, where she serves five days per week and works individually with children on reading, spelling and math skills. Ms. Latterell says “I very much appreciate Natalie in the classroom. She is aware of student needs, and I depend on her in many ways. She has become a second set of eyes for me and assists with lots of details that are difficult to manage on my own.”

Natalya summarizes her and Eduard's experience saying “It’s like a chain between generations. Older people know a lot of things, but they also don’t know a lot of things. When you do what you really like, your life makes sense. My health has changed in the best way.”

-Eduard and Natalya Vazemiller