Unconditional Love, from Massachusetts to Georgia
Karen Grencho has been a Mentor foster parent with Massachusetts MENTOR for almost a decade, and her passion for education and children has motivated her every step of the way. “My training as a teacher helps a lot with my experiences in foster care. I have training in child development, special education, and cultural diversity,” she said. But it’s not a one-way street. As a dedicated teacher, Karen uses all her experiences as a way to also enrich her classroom. “I better understand the many challenges that my students face because I have seen so many examples of these challenges in the youth I serve.”
Karen works with teens and provides them support and stability as a Mentor foster parent.
“I personally have never felt intimidated working with teens. I was a teen once, and I remember how challenging it was for me growing up,” Karen said.
She makes sure that the children she works with are able to have similar experiences to their peers, letting them have friends over to the house or taking them to Six Flags.
Putting Children Before Yourself
“Even though they don’t always seem to appreciate your work with them at the time, they come back later and tell you how much you have taught them and how it has affected their lives in a positive way. This is what being a foster parent is all about,” said Karen.
One of the children in Karen’s care was ready to reunify with his father in Georgia, and to make the transition as smooth as possible Karen elected to drive him from Massachusetts all the way to Georgia in a generous example of shared parenting. Instead of travelling with a social worker and having to worry about sending shipments of remaining personal items later, the child took a road trip with Karen who (ever the educator) planned fun and meaningful field trips along the way.
“Being a parent means having unconditional love for someone,” Karen explained. “Every child should have the opportunity to experience this.”