TAYLOR COUNTY—Sometimes the best way to get through a new experience is by going through it with people who are in a similar situation. One local group does just that, along with providing resources and information to better help families they serve navigate through specific instances.
Healthy Grandfamilies is an organization that assists families where grandparents have assumed the role of parent. In addition to formal meetings, participants are welcomed to fun, family-friendly gatherings.
Recently, the organization met for a picnic and pool party, at the Grafton Municipal Pool and Fetterman Park.
“We had seven families who attended, and it seemed as if everyone had a great time,” expressed Mendy Shaffer, Healthy Grandfamilies Coordinator.
She revealed that the group will be participating in another picnic in the park, and anyone wishing to join Taylor County Healthy Grandfamilies is welcome to attend.
“We will gather on Wednesday, August 3, from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., and encourage any families who qualify to come and meet with us,” Shaffer disclosed. “Anyone with questions can reach out to me at 304-518-8015 for more information.”
Healthy Grandfamilies is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and led by West Virginia State University. Additionally, the program is a joint effort of Family Service of Marion and Harrison Counties and the Taylor County Board of Education.
The program offers a series of free discussion groups with a goal of providing information and resources to grandparents who have taken on the responsibility of raising one or more of their grandchildren.
Not only do families receive crucial information and great tips during each session, but they are also able to take advantage of three months of free follow-up services, including help locating community resources, confidential assistance in meeting the family’s needs and advocacy services, when needed.
During their sessions, families will discuss various topics including stress management, family relationships, parenting in the 21st Century, nutrition and how to navigate through the legal and school systems, as well as focusing on technology and social media, just to name a few.
The sessions will also focus on communication techniques, self-care and how to cope when a family member is struggling with addition. Other topics may include trauma-informed care and professional counseling.
“This program is designed to assist and educate grandparents in multiple areas of childhood development,” said Shaffer. “Healthy Grandfamilies provides key information from local professionals specializing in each topic.”
Each session offers dinner, childcare and course materials free of charged for each participant.
“Once the session comes to an end, participants will receive a certificate of completion, a gift card and those three months of free follow-up services,” Shaffer revealed.
Participants in the program are able to take advantage of three months of free follow-up services, including information and referral services, linkage to community resources, confidential supportive services to meet the unique needs of each family situation and accessibility to the Grandfamily Financial Assistance Fund, which assists when no other resources are available.
According to Shaffer, any grandparent raising one or more grandchild is encouraged to contact the program for assistance, support and advocacy.
For more information about Healthy Grandfamilies and how you can be a part of the program, please contact Shaffer by phone at 304-518-8015 or by emailing [email protected]
“So, if you’re a grandparent trying to raise your grandchild in today’s world and are in need of assistance, please reach out to us! This free program may be just what you need,” imparted Shafffer.