By Karen Best Wright, B.S., M.A., CHES
Health & Wellness Educator
Most of the emails I get are from grandparents looking for support, either in regards to actual tangible help or in the form of emotional support from other grandparents. But once in a while I get information from grandparents or agencies who already have some sort of support structure.
One thing is very obvious to me; the places that have a support system have it because a lot of effort has gone into it from passionate individuals. Sometimes groups are started by an agency of some sort, but more often then not, they are started by grandparents with the help of a church and people who care. These passionate people put in a lot of time to locate resources for grandparents. Sometimes they ask thrift stores to donate needed items, sometimes church and community members donate goods, and sometimes grants are written with much labor for an existing nonprofit agency or county or city organization.
Some grandparents are full of energy and enthusiasm and help run the group and search out resources. Other grandparents are exhausted and need to be picked up and taken to support groups. The most successful support groups seem to be those who offer childcare, while the grandparents meet. The childcare workers are often volunteers who have compassion and passion about wanting to help others.
I love to hear about the success stories of people helping people. I have heard stories from grandmothers from Indiana, New York, Florida, Virginia, among other states who have benefited from support systems.
I also think it very sad when there is no support structure at all to help grandparents in need. As I interview people who have created successful support systems, I will write more.
A grandmother in love with her grandchildren (who once upon a time had the privilege of raising them for 6 years and 8 months).