Melissa Partridge stands with Foster Grandparent staff Cheri Tuckett and Cara Moody, along with students from Barnet Elementary.

Melissa Partridge stands with Foster Grandparent staff Cheri Tuckett and Cara Moody, along with students from Barnet Elementary.

Melissa Partridge

Melissa Partridge was recognized as a Utah Senior Corps Service Award recipient in May 2020 as a Foster Grandparent volunteer with the Utah County Foster Grandparent Program.

She was nominated by Utah County Foster Grandparent Program Director Cheri Tuckett.  Cheri provided this inspirational nomination for Melissa:

Melissa has served with the Utah County Foster Grandparent for eight years. She volunteers at Barnet Elementary in Payson.  Melissa helps in all of the Kindergarten classes at the school and spends about seven hours each day during the school year, as well as assisting with summer Migrant School in June and July.  She has served almost 900 students!

Melissa has had a lot of challenges in her own life.  Many people in her situation might be bitter and feel sorry for themselves.  But Melissa turns those challenges into opportunities to share her knowledge and skills with others and to improve her community through service.  She is always the first to raise her hand to volunteer.

Melissa is a caretaker to her core.  She has cared for many family members during illness and end of life situations.  She is currently raising her special-needs granddaughter and has a very special relationship with her.

She looks out after her fellow Foster Grandparents, making sure they get information about meetings and events, providing rides, checking up on them and making sure they have what they need. 

The elementary school teachers she supports say:

“Grandma Melissa works so hard with students and is so focused on their learning and progress.  She loves them and they love her.  She is always early and works hard the whole day.  She asks for ideas of how to best help students.  Melissa gets along so well with everyone at our school and participates in lots of activities.”

“Melissa is such a great help!  The kids love her and learn so much from her.  She is so concerned with their learning and abilities.  She always goes above and beyond what is asked because she really cares about and is passionate about working with these kids.  

“She is so helpful and always goes above and beyond what I hope for.”

Even when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and we required our volunteers to stay home from school, Melissa’s helpful spirit would not be dampened.  She found a way to help  from home.  A teacher would drop materials off at her home and she would prepare them for each student.  Then the teacher would come back by and pick up the completed packets.

When asked what she thinks is the most important thing she does as a Foster Grandparent, Melissa said: “Help students achieve to be greater in any area than where they started.”  She knows she is valued because she sees the progress the students make as she works with them and knows what that means, better success for their future.  She gets a lot of satisfaction knowing she is making a difference in their lives.

Melissa is one of our youngest volunteers and she has the energy and endurance of the Energizer Bunny.  She is patient, kind, soft-spoken and unassuming.  She’s got a huge heart, open arms and a capacity to love beyond measure.

About the Foster Grandparent Program: 

Senior Corps volunteers help meet the needs and challenges of America’s communities using resources provided by grants and the energy and efforts of citizens aged 55 and over. Senior Corps is a national service program funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service, which also funds AmeriCorps.  Foster Grandparents serve as role models, mentors, and friends to children with exceptional needs.  They often provide one-on-one tutoring to help children learn to read; mentor troubled teenagers; and help children who have been abused or neglected.  They provide the kind of comfort and love that sets a child on the path toward a successful future.

To get involved with a Senior Corps program in your area, you can visit this website. To find out more about national service and the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that administers national service programs including AmeriCorps State, please visit this website.