'Grandma Mary' helps Dakota Co. teens avoid life of crime

For the past 16 years, one Minnesota woman has acted as a foster grandmother to many young men in Dakota County to help them avoid a life of crime.

Mary Monahan, also known as “Grandma Mary,” has been a volunteer grandma at the Dakota County Juvenile Services Center since 1999 through a group called the Lutheran Social Service.

She and her “grandkids” at the center aren’t related by blood, but they are connected through love the minute she walks through the doors.

She’s there to listen to, talk to and guide the teenagers.

"Some come and a few are scared to death and they are crying and I try to help them through that a little bit,” Monahan says.

Grandma Mary has certainly filled a need for kids who fall on the wrong side of the law. Some have even told her she is the only grandparent they have right now.

"I'm glad you give me so much hope,” One of Monahan’s grandkids wrote to her in a card. “I can tell you anything and you will listen and not say nope.”