Local nonprofit directors dedicate their lives to the common good. photos by Keith Borgmeyer Cheryl Howard, Nora Stewart Early Learning Center As a former graduate...
by Madelyne Maag
The founder of Granny’s House wakes up strong.
There are two things Pam Ingram looks forward to every day: her quiet time in the early morning and the arrival of kids for the after-school program at Granny’s House.
Pam has two main rules that she follows during her quiet time: No meetings are held, and no technology is allowed — unless it’s her iPad. Her iPad is a huge factor during quiet time, as Pam likes to enjoy music while reading. And when she isn’t reading, Pam prays.
“Praying starts my day,” she says. It’s a way for her to meditate and focus on any tasks she has to complete. Often, she prays for the children enrolled in Granny’s House.
“I ask, ‘How can I help them? What can I do today?’ and God gives me an answer,” Pam says. In short, she’s asking for a way to reach each child.
The majority of kids enrolled in Granny’s House live in poverty, much like Pam did while growing up in Kansas City. It humbled her as she grew up and eventually led her to open up Granny’s House in Columbia.
“We wanted to provide a safe place for a kid to be a kid,” Pam says. “It’s a place to teach them life lessons, respect, and how to love.”
On the day she opened Granny’s House, Pam says it felt like the next step in her dream come true. She was anxious and equally overcome with joy. Since that day, From providing snacks to making sure all the kids are occupied, Granny Pam does it all. She has pieced together every detail. She has made the place thrive through the love she delivers to her staff and to the children who are enrolled.
Working here, Pam says that she feels like a plate spinner, tending to everything needed to make great things happen. Her goal with Granny’s House is to help as many children succeed in life as she can. Whether it’s through teaching life lessons, creating a space to be a kid, or helping complete homework in a relaxed environment, Pam finds a way to provide.
“By seeing these kids for who they are at Granny’s House, I can learn how to help them grow,” Pam says. “I truly believe that by changing one kid’s life, we have the powerful potential to change societies.”
With over 16 years of experience at Granny’s House, Pam loves nothing more than leading her volunteers and being with the kids. In the next few years, she hopes to step back and pass the baton of leadership to someone who can spin the plates of Granny’s House just as well as she can.
7:00-10:00 a.m. — Good Morning, Pam! After getting up and eating breakfast, Pam takes this time for herself. She reads, she prays, she meditates.
10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. — Time to get down to business. Pam focuses on answering emails, organizing meetings, and handling the logistics of Granny’s House.
1:00-2:00 p.m. — Pam drives to work, but first she makes a few stops to pick up snacks and other items needed at Granny’s House.
2:00 p.m. — Pam organizes her volunteer meetings. She prepares her volunteers for what to expect that day.
2:45-3:00 p.m. — Ding! School is out and kids start signing into Granny’s House for the afternoon. Pam makes sure to be there and greet the kids and volunteers as they arrive.
3:00-6:00 p.m. — Granny Pam is the roaming eyes and ears of Granny’s House. She makes sure that the kids are entertained, completing their homework, getting along, and eating their daily snack.
6:00 p.m. — Pam gathers the kids of Granny’s House to help her clean up the rooms and yards before they go home for the day. “It’s a lesson that teaches these kids to take care of the things and places they enjoy,” she says.
7:00-7:30 p.m. — After the children are picked up, Pam makes sure that everything at Granny’s House looks good. She picks up the house or yard and then takes home any of the kids who need a ride.