Notice: Undefined offset: 2 in /home/nsip/ on line 12

National Service and Inclusion Project

Inclusion: The active engagement of people with disabilities as service members in all levels of national and community service

Visit NSIP's sister site The National Service to Employment Project (NextSTEP)


Florence Styer / Penns Creek Elementary

Program: Union-Snyder Foster Grandparent Program, Pennsylvania
Service: Foster Grandparents assist in classrooms and programs for children with special and exceptional needs. Florence Styer served for more than 4 years as a Foster Grandparent in the kindergarten, first, second and fourth and fifth grade classrooms of Penns Creek Elementary school. She passed away last year. Two teachers, in whose classrooms Florence served, spoke to me about her exceptional contributions.

Interview with Ellen Whipple and Mary Bogar, December, 2000



1. DISABILITY AWARENESS - ELLEN WHIPPLE:              real audio clip icon

ELLEN WHIPPLE: My name is Ellen Whipple and I’m a first grade teacher at Penns Creek Elementary in Pennsylvania. Florence Styer had come to us about 3 and 1/2 years ago. I had a group of students and it was a real challenging group, and I needed an extra set of hands here. Our principal came to me and said, “I have a Foster Grandparent for you” And I thought, “great!” I’d had a foster grandmother before and realized how helpful a foster Grandparent could be. And then, in the next breath he said, “She’s wheel chair bound.” And I’m sure my mouth must have dropped, and I thought, “ I have all these children here and so many needs of the kids, and now I’m going to have to deal with someone in a wheel chair, someone else to help out . So over that weekend I worried about how it would be… Well, until Grammy came in on Monday, and after she’d been here an hour I knew this all was going to be okay. She is one of the most independent women I have ever seen. She just had that sense about her. She knew when the kids needed help. In the classroom we only made a couple of slight changes to make wider spaces for her to wheel through. She would wheel right over to the kids. It came time for lunch that day, and I made sure to stand by her and I said , “I’ll carry your tray for you” And she said “No. I’m fine."

2. DISABILITY AWARENESS - MARY BOGAR:              real audio clip icon

MARY BOGAR: My name is Mary Bogar and I’m a 5th grade teacher at Penns Creek Elementary….Florence was involved with my class for several years…she had a wonderful rapport with older kids…

Because she was here sometimes it opened our eyes in our school to issues that we needed to deal with, not just for Florence but for everyone. We weren’t aware until she came that we didn’t have a ramp at the front of the school and it was very difficult for her to get in and out. It was basically something that assisted us to help us to look at the width of doors. She had difficulty sometimes getting in and out of the restrooms or that there weren’t appropriate heights of things in the building. It kind of opened our eyes to things that we needed to do as a staff and as a facility to accommodate people with disabilities.

click to return to top of page

Website and contents © Institute for Community Inclusion. All rights reserved. Call us at (617) 287-4300 TTY: (617) 287-4350

©The National Service Inclusion Project (NSIP) is a training and technical assistance provider on disability inclusion. NSIP partners with the Association on University Centers on Disability, National Council on Independent Living, Association on Higher Education and Disability and National Down Syndrome Congress to build connections between disability organizations and all CNCS grantees, including national directs, to increase the participation of people with disabilities in national service.