At the age of 75, Ms. Hatley has a heart of gold and serves as a AmeriCorps Senior Foster Grandparent while also raising her 12 year-old great grandson. She has served since September of 2009.
Ms. Hatley serves over 25 hours per week at Children’s Health of Dallas where she welcomes children and their families to the ARCH Clinic that serves at-risk children who have been neglected, are failing to thrive, or have been victims of physical or sexual abuse. Several of these children are in the foster care system or have an active case with Child Protective Services. Ms. Hatley eases the children’s anxiety and forms amazing relationships with these children who have countless medical visits over the years. She involves the parents or caregivers as well, making the visit to the clinic just a little more bearable for everyone.
Ms. Hatley’s dedication to volunteering is remarkable. In 2019, she volunteered nearly 1,000 service hours for the Foster Grandparent Program and in one year alone, she impacted 4,229 children with her love for children and her community.
I have the privilege of visiting her a couple of times a month and seeing her in action. As soon as the children walk through the door, she greets them with an enormous smile and friendly face. She offers kind words and the words “beautiful” or “handsome” usually follow. The faces of these children light up with smiles to see what activity Ms. Hatley will have for them that day. It could be playing with pretend animals, coloring books with stickers, a craft activity or the play kitchen (which is a favorite). I get to witness her pretending to eat the plastic food they prepare for her in the kitchen. She shows no favoritism and every child gets the “Ms. Hatley experience” to ease their anxiety before seeing the doctor. I only see tears from the children when Mom or Dad tell them they must go home after the appointment. I’ve even seen children negotiate with their parents just to stay a few minutes longer.
Ms. Hatley is an exemplary volunteer that goes above and beyond in her role as a volunteer, and it is our privilege that she gives her time serving as a Foster Grandparent to these children. Her impact on our community and these children is significant and with purpose. She is our “Point of Light” and is truly deserving of this recognition.