Grandparent Profile: Queenell Dixon
Name: Queenell Dixon
Host Site: Logan Elementary School
Lives in: Mt. Airy
Started: May 8, 2012
Grandmom Queenell is the “Queen” in her name. She worked in the Philadelphia School system for over 37 years. Her expertise was working with high school students. After her husband died, she needed something to do. She didn’t want nothing permanent or long term. So, she decided she would spend a “little” of her time volunteering in the schools.
Her niece Jasmine Williams was the Dean of Students at Logan Elementary school. Jasmine found out about the Foster Grandparent Program and with a lot of coercion, persuaded Grandmom to attend a Pre-Service training to found out what the FGP was all about. After the training, she was still a little leery, but decided to give it a try. Besides, it was only temporary. She could stop if she didn’t like it. Hence is where the FGP story begins.
Grandmom Dixon was placed in Ms. Anderson’s kindergarten class. Ms. Anderson was overwhelmed with room full struggling children. Grandmom’s first instinct was to run. This was not what she bargained for. Little people was not her forte. In fact, these little people scared her. More persuasion from the teacher convinced her to stick it out for a few days. After 3 months she saw a major change in her being in the classroom. One of her fondest memories was the drastic change of a student named Kayla. Kayla’s was rebellious Muslim, shy, somewhat defensive, with little self-esteem. So she made Kayla her personal assignment. Kayla’s confidence soared. That’s when she realized how much of a difference she makes in these children’s lives.
In the last 4 years as a Foster Grandparent, Grandmom Queenell has seen the transformation of all of her children changing. She knows for a fact that the one-on-one approach is what the children need to make a positive difference in their lives. Most children have never experienced any kind of positive “individual attention”. She feels this may be the only time they will.
“I stay because of the trust the children have with me. I stay because it gets so intense, but moving when I see a child get excited when they get it. I stay because of the partnership and the trust that the teacher and I have developed over the 4 years we’ve worked together. I stay because of the relationships I have built with the past and present parents of the children I work with. And finally, I stay because the teacher and the Foster Grandparent staff says I have no choice”.