Hometown Hero redefining the role of a foster parent

Terry Paronish from Girard has been a foster parent for the last 10 years

The need for a safe place for kids in the foster care system is growing daily and more urgent with each child -- especially in Trumbull County.


GIRARD, Ohio (WYTV) – The need for a safe place for kids in the foster care system is growing daily and more urgent with each child — especially in Trumbull County.

But Terry Paronish — a foster parent from Girard — is redefining what it means to do the job. For this, she is this week’s Hometown Hero.

Last month, WYTV introduced you to Paronish. Shortly after that story aired, she was nominated for our award.

“A hero is someone who does whats right, even when they’re afraid,” Paronish said. “You think that a hero is someone who does the most wonderful thing and saves lives? No. A hero does whats right when it’s not easy to do it.

“This is an honor. This is the biggest honor a parent or anyone could get. But I do it because I really love it. I could do this for the rest of my life.”

And she will.

Paronish has been a foster parent for the last 10 years. Right now she’s fostering five amazing kids — all from different backgrounds and situations.

As a single mom, Paronish started her journey as a Trumbull County foster parent not sure what the outcome would be. But she knew she wanted to have an impact in a child’s life.

“The bottom line is she takes great care of the children,” said Tim Schaffner, executive director of Trumbull County Children’s Services. “She works really hard with their parents to help them reunite, which is really a hard thing to do.”

“She is a hero,” said Deanna Prezioso, supervisor of foster care TCCS. “I don’t think she identifies herself as one, but she’s absolutely a hero to us and she’s a hero to all the kids that she has helped. She’s everything you could ask for in a foster parent.”

But for Paronish, it’s all about teaching the kids little lesson’s along the way. She wants to assure they know they are loved and can do anything they set their mind too.

“I hope that I was maybe the role model for some of these kids to say, ‘I can do that,'” Paronish said.