‘It’s why I’m still moving’: 95-year-old finally retires from foster role

A unique celebration for a special group of volunteers who, despite their age, never lost sight of what they have to offer.

Among them is 95-year-old Miriam Manning.

We first met Manning in 2015.

At 91, she set out every day for the Dorchester Headstart on Geneva Avenue, where she volunteered as a ‘foster grandparent.’

On Friday, dozens gathered at Florian Hall to celebrate her retirement after 27 years of giving back.

“I got a lot out of the kids and I think the kids got a lot out of me,” Manning told Boston 25 News. “That’s why I’m still moving.”

Non-profit ABCD has run the foster grandparent program for 54 years.

“There’s a light that comes in a classroom when our foster grandparents are there,” Executive Vice President Sharon Scott Chandler said.

She says volunteers bring their years of experience and wisdom, combined with that special love only a grandparent can give. And she says Ms. Manning embodies it all.

“After you’ve been in the program so long and it’s such a late stage in your life, still wanting every day to go there because you know you make a difference in the lives of children,” said Chandler.

Manning says giving back kept her going.

“I think it’s part of it, between them and my children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren,” Manning said.

She may be closing this chapter, but she’s leaving an indelible mark.

“You know, it’s amazing how you feel about kids and you watch them grow,” she said. “It’s amazing.”

There are 135 foster grandparents volunteering in the greater Boston area right now.

They’re always looking for more volunteers, especially foster grandfathers. You can find more information here.