HHSC Honors Foster Grandparent for 30 Years of Service

Media Advisory
Texas Health and Human Services Commission
Cecile Erwin Young
HHS Executive Commissioner
Jennifer Ruffcorn, 512-424-6951

AUSTIN – The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is recognizing Willie Piper for 30 years of service to the Foster Grandparent Program. During a celebration of her dedication and commitment on Thursday, Feb. 29, she will be presented with the Lifetime President’s Volunteer Service Award.

During her more than 50,000 hours of service with the Foster Grandparent Program, Piper has been a positive influence for hundreds of children over the years. Piper joined the program in February 1994 when she served at the Austin State Supported Living Center. She then moved to the Gardner Betts Juvenile Probation Center, where she is still actively serving today at the age of 92. Piper attends court twice a week, serving as moral support for residents who have no family present, and spends her mornings visiting with residents before classes.

“Miss Willie has served as a mentor for other volunteers in the Foster Grandparent Program and inspired them to follow her wise counsel,” said Diane Rouda, volunteer services coordinator for the Austin Foster Grandparent Program. “With a kind and caring attitude, Miss Willie has never slowed down throughout her 30 years of service, even sending cards to the children she volunteered with during the pandemic. She has made a profound impact on the children, her fellow foster grandparents and the Austin community.”

The Foster Grandparent Program provides an opportunity for people 55 and older who have limited incomes to serve children with special and exceptional needs, or who are in circumstances that limit their academic, social or emotional development.

Volunteers share their time and talents as role models, mentors and friends to the children they serve. They build one-on-one relationships through trust and unconditional support, leading to a future of unlimited potential for each child. Volunteers receive a monthly tax-free stipend and can serve anywhere from 15 to 40 hours a week.

The President’s Volunteer Service Award is presented by AmeriCorps to recognize people for their positive and inspiring contributions and impacts on their community and the nation.

WHAT: Celebration of Willie Piper for 30 years of service to the Foster Grandparent Program

WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024
              2:30 p.m.

WHERE: Gardner Betts Juvenile Probation Center
              2515 S. Congress Ave.
              Austin, TX

Reporters should RSVP by emailing Jennifer Ruffcorn.

For more information please visit our Foster Grandparent Volunteer Program website.