Foster Grandparents (from left): Pieta Prokott, Marilyn Balck and Joann Kroll, offer a valuable service for students and staff at Royalton Elementary School.

For the past four years, staff at Royalton Elementary School have been graced with Foster Grandparents helping in their school. Foster Grandparents serve from 15 to 40 hours per week in locations including schools, hospitals, juvenile correctional institutions or child care centers. They are senior citizens who provide one-on-one emotional support, mentoring and tutoring for children from preschool all the way to 18 years old.

At Royalton, the three Foster Grandparents are Joann Kroll, Marilyn Balck and Pieta Prokott.

Kroll began volunteering at Royalton Elementary in 2015. After 18 years, she retired from child care and started helping in Cindy Petron’s first grade classroom.

She has always had a love for children and enjoys assisting them grow and succeed.

“I like seeing the improvement the kids make from the beginning to the end of the year. I enjoy the individual stories they share with me too,” Kroll said.

A few years ago, Balck and Prokott also came on board. They work in second grade with Michael Marschel and third grade with Jennifer Beaman.

“I truly love the kids,” Prokott said. “I used to be sad at home, but now I’m so happy. The kids just make me happy.”

She helps out wherever needed and can even be seen in the kitchen with a hair net.

Balck is also a great asset in the classroom.

“My favorite part of volunteering is when I see the light bulb moment click for a student and I can see they understand — it’s just very special,” Balck said. “It is so rewarding to me because I know I’m making a difference. I also like helping the teachers because I now realize there are so many different things they need to complete besides teaching.”

“The help and assistance of these three wonderful Foster Grandparents and many around the country is so appreciated and truly needed,” Petron said. “They light up a room, help students grow, build relationships and bring fun into the classroom. Without a doubt, there is a common thread coming from these extraordinary volunteer grandmas — the students are special and loved.”

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