Dr. Grace Tatem, School of Social Work, Grambling State University professor has received a $1,000 check from Pi Tau Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity to aid with services provided to area seniors who are Hurricane Katrina/Rita survivors. Dr. Tatem wrote and received a service learning grant of $30,000 from the University of Louisiana Systems earlier this year. She was able to match it which provides a total of $60,000.
This was one of many grants which were awarded to enhance student service learning in the university systems. This particular grant’ “Enhancing the Quality of Life for Senior citizens in a Rural Community after the Trauma of the Katrina/Rita ” has partnered undergraduate students with the city of Grambling and AARP to provide education, information, support and entertainment to area senior citizens.
Dr. Tatem, project director, guides in implementing the program from 9 a.m-2 p.m. every Wednesday at the Grambling Community Center. The emphasis of the program is on people interacting with people. It not only benefits the GSU students, but it benefits the elderly of Lincoln Parish and literacy levels from Grambling, Simsboro, Ruston and many other local areas.
Transportation is provided free of charge through the University of Louisiana Service (ULS) grant. The weekly workshops are presented by students and other area providers on various topics of interest such as financial planning, retirement options, health and mental health care, etc.
The once-a-week program and additional activities during the week allow the elderly to get out of their homes and socialize with others in a healthy, non-threatening environment. It also helps keep them mentally challenged (don’t mess with the Scrabble game players unless you have at least 2 good dictionaries and a photogenic memory) The elderly also receive a nutritious meal and snacks when they are at the Center.
Meals and snacks are not covered by the grant, thus donations, such as the one by Omega Psi Phi, are especially appreciated.
Overall, the senior citizens and social work seem to be a perfect fit.
The students are getting as much as they are giving, thru life lessons not yet learned by them, and a shared point of view that only experience coupled with age, can dictate.