Martha Barbis
2009
National Grandparent of the Year
Forget-Me-Not Volunteer


Martha's Family
Left to right (back row)- daughter Sandy, daughter Susan, son-in-law Rick, son David, and Martha
(front row): Kaitlyn, Meghan, Emma,(granddaughters), Dean (grandson)
Missing from picture: son-in-law Marcus and daughter-in-law Kimberly


Martha Barbis, of Rancho Bernardo, California, saw the need to develop a program at her church, where church-members sign up to adopt a grandparent in a nursing home, and then visit at least once a week.

Martha's program was developed at the Rancho Bernardo Presbyterian Church, and has flourished within Sunshine Care Homes. There are currently seven adopted grandparent matches. In addition to founding the “You Are Loved” program and bringing it to Sunshine Care Homes in Poway, California, Martha Barbis has established the program at six other assisted living communities and skilled nursing facilities in the Poway, Rancho Bernardo and Escondido Communities.

Some volunteer visitors come with their whole families to play games and read, some have even brought dogs. The name of the program is "You Are Loved," and it is modeled after Marian McQuade's "Forget-Me-Not" visitation program.

Martha's program has made a significant difference in the lives of the Sunshine Care residents who do not have family or friends to visit. The same is true at the six other facilities in the area where Ms. Barbis' program flourishes.

It really takes someone special like Martha, to have the vision and to take the steps to get the program off the ground.

She made badges for the visitors, similar in concept to the Forget-Me-Not visitation tickets. She also talks with each nursing home about what steps volunteers need to take to be matched with an adoptee grandparent. She also provides volunteer instructions.

Martha is the mother of three and grandmother of four.