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Program offers help for grandparents

Discussion group resumes Tuesday at senior center

Are you a grandparent suddenly raising a grandchild?  Need help finding resources and services? 

 A six-week Healthy Grandfamilies program will resume   Tuesday   at the Newburg Senior Center,  36 Morgantown Ave., in Newburg.  The discussion group will meet from 5:45-8 p.m.  

 The weekly Tuesday discussion groups will meet through Oct. 20.  Childcare is available, if needed.

 “This is the third program series offered by the Preston County Grandfamilies Coalition,” said   Susie Huggins, After School Explorers Program director. 

 “There is a large uptick in the number of children being raised by grandfamilies here in Preston County.  One study shows that 62.5% of school-age children are being raised by grandparents,” she said.  “We have to help our grandfamilies and communities raise our next generation.”

The Preston County Grandfamilies Coalition is in the county thanks to  efforts of several groups.   Partners include Bonnie Dunn with Healthy Grandfamilies from West Virginia State University, Audra Hamrick and a group of West Virginia University School of Public Health students, Preston County Senior Citizens, Terra Alta churches, the Preston Prevention Partnership, the Preston County Family Resource Network, After School Explorers and Preston County Schools.  

The Caroline Haase Foundation also plays an important role with the Coalition.  Membership and the Grandfamily Coalition continues to grow.  

The Grandfamilies Coalition held its first training event in February 2019 in Preston County.  The staff from Preston High School  learned about the issues faced by grandfamilies through a Professional Development Day thanks to the efforts of PHS Assistant Principal Laura Shaffer.  

The training welcomed community members to participate as well.  The first community support program for grandfamilies evolved after that.  Since then, the coalition continues to grow by teaming with the community.

Activities have included a display at the Preston County Buckwheat Festival and the creation of the Healthy Grandfamilies of Preston County Facebook page.

The next series of Healthy Grandfamilies discussion sessions started  March 3, but was postponed due to COVID-19.

Session topics include learning about Parenting in the 21st Century,   Communication via Social Media, Cyberbullying and Technology Trends with David Hartley from WVU Extension.

 Another session will feature Navigating the School System with Stormy Matlick from Preston County Schools.  Tim Craig will be the featured presenter addressing stress.  Health Literacy and Self-care for the caregiver with Kim Liston from Preston Memorial Hospital will also be a session topic.  

A session will feature Family Response to Addiction.  This hot topic will be presented by Tim Craig, Rita McCrobie from the state Attorney General’s Office, and the USC Peer Recovery Coach. 

Another session will address the legal issues that many grandfamilies face with Angie White from Legal Aide.  Finally, one session will address nutrition with Belinda Nicholas from WVU Extension and Stephanie Duncan from Fellowsville CEOs.

Those Grandfamilies completing all sessions will have access to a social worker to help with ongoing questions that may arise, along with a certificate of completion from the program. 

The West Virginia Legislature  provided funding to support a 10-hour a week social worker through the Children’s Home Society.

To register for the Healthy Grandfamilies program, call Preston County Senior Citizens at 304-329-0464 or e-mail preston

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