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Grade School Grandpals


On Mother's Day the phone lines can be jammed as sons, daughters, grandsons and granddaughters contact those special women in their lives. In one small Nebraska town, grandmothers and grandfathers are remembered often by children to whom they may not be related, but share a special bond.

(Locator: Osceola, Nebraska)

"This is pepperoni pizza and this is a three-meat pizza."

Every other Monday, Jane Roberts of Nebraska fixes a snack for her Sunday school students from Osceola United Methodist Church.

"Hi Lindsay"

She lures these fourth, fifth and sixth graders from their busy lives ...

"Hi Eric, how was your golf game? Good."

... for a lesson they can only learn by doing.

Jane Roberts/Osceola First United Methodist Church: "I'm trying to teach them that we need to give in some fashion. These children are growing up in a very materialistic society where so many things are all about 'me,' so I'm trying to teach them about giving back, and that the rewards are forever."

Once the snack is consumed, they're out the door.

"We're going to Good Sams, Good Samaritan!" (van door slams)

Good Samaritan Care Center has become a familiar place for the kids, and its residents have become familiar friends.


The kids spend time with the residents&ellipsis;.

"My turn?"

&ellipsis;playing games. And on nice days, they head out for long walks together in the sun.

Care Center Resident: "Oh, these kids are just great. They've come up here every other week and we play cards and we laugh and talk."

This "Grandpals" ministry started about five years ago, with plans for visits throughout one school year but the kids asked to keep it going, year after year.

Care Center Resident in wheelchair: "She's doing fine, I'll bet she'll be tired though when she's done." (Student) "Not really."

They never do seem to get tired of these visits with their Grandpals, which makes their Sunday school teacher know the lessons she teaches on the weekends really hit home on Monday afternoons.

Jane Roberts/Osceola First United Methodist Church: "I know that you can't give away more than you get back. I know that, and I want the kids to start to understand that."

This story was first published on May 9, 2007. The Grandpals ministry is no longer active at Osceola First United Methodist Church.