“I love working with the babies,” says Barbara Warren, better known at the YWCA as “Grandma Barbara.” Grandma Barbara is one of the YWCA’s thirteen Foster Grandmothers, volunteers in the Child Care Center who come to us through the Land of Sky Regional Council’s Foster Grandparent program. Children in the YWCA Child Care Center have been enjoying Grandma Barbara’s attention and affection for eleven years. She started volunteering at the YWCA after retiring from a 25-year career at Square D. Two of her eleven years were spent in the toddler room, but for the majority of her time here Grandma Barbara has been in the baby room, where she helps YWCA staff care for the 6 months to one year olds in the Center. This volunteer service is invaluable to our program.
Last year a student from England named Emma Knowles spent some time in the Child Care Center volunteering. She and Grandma Barbara developed a friendship. After returning to England, Emma decided to write a letter to the Queen of her country about her positive experience at the YWCA. After several months, she was surprised to receive a reply from Buckingham Palace, with best wishes from the Queen! Emma sent a copy of the letter and gifts with the Queen’s name and photo on them to Grandma Barbara, much to her delight and surprise.
In her letter to Grandma Barbara about the package Emma explained, “You inspired me in so many ways. I’m doing my dissertation in university on how children from disadvantaged families are included into day cares and schools. I feel like the YWCA really showed me what my interests in child care were – working with children from disadvantaged backgrounds. I can’t thank you enough for how wonderful, fabulous and inspiring you are to me; you are truly a fantastic lady.” She also went on to say, “Everyone at the YWCA Child Care have impacted my life so much, you’re the most wonderful group of people I’ve ever had the privilege to meet.”
The YWCA also has deep appreciation for Grandma Barbara and all of our Grandmas, and our dedicated Child Care Center staff. We’re not surprised that the Queen would take the time to acknowledge how special they are!