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Foster Grandparent Program to Celebrate 50 Years of Service at Golden Gala

Foster grandparent plays with studentsOn Friday, July 15, 2022, at 6 PM, the Foster Grandparent Program at Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) will hold the Golden Gala to celebrate the program's 50 years of service to students, community organizations, and more in the Los Angeles area. The event will be emceed by actress and voice-over artist Janora McDuffie and will feature a keynote from former GSEP dean Helen Easterling Williams and a performance from Broadway actress and singer Kuper Walker.

“I am so eager to spend such a special evening celebrating and honoring our incredible volunteers that keep the program going,” says Shanetta Weatherspoon, who serves as the GSEP Foster Grandparent Program executive director. “During these last two years of loss and separation, our volunteers stepped up like never before to continue supporting those most in need and give the Foster Grandparent Program a strong foundation for the years ahead.”

During the gala, six awards will be presented to volunteers and community organizations for their dedicated service. Among the awards will be the Pearl Williams Award for Dedication and the Earnestene Wilson Community Maven Award, which honor two beloved grandparent volunteers. Program sponsors, including the Girls Club of Los Angeles, will also join the night’s festivities to celebrate the tremendous growth and resilience of the program.

Over the last several years, the program has grown substantially through expanded grant funding, community partnerships, and volunteer participation. Weatherspoon, who is the third executive director in the program’s history, quickly mobilized at the start of the pandemic to equip grandparent volunteers with technology skills to continue to serve students safely through virtual environments. Beyond the continued support for students, the program saw increased engagement and community among its volunteers during the pandemic and as conditions began to ease.

To learn more about the gala or to support the program, visit the GSEP Foster Grandparent Program website.