Grandparents in support group receive donation

Grandparents in support group receive donation
Posted on 04/23/2020
Morganton, NC – April 17, 2020

More than a dozen families received donations of masks, gift cards and food through the Burke County Public Schools FUTuRES Program last week. The program helps to build positive parenting strategies with families including grandparents (or kinship caregivers) who are raising their grandchildren.

The organization formed a Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Support Group several years ago and before COVID-19, met weekly. The meetings include a hot meal, but now that they are postponed, Lisa Schell, program coordinator, and Mike Massey, a family mentor, took the initiative to check up on families and put together care packages for them. Each package included a couple masks, gift cards and food items.

Schell said, “Just as part of our program provides that continued support, this was the way to do it at this time.”

Massey and Schell delivered the care packages to each family’s house, and they could not be more appreciative, including Yvonda and Ray Gragg, who are raising their great grandchild, a 5-year-old who attends Oak Hill Elementary School. She appreciates the care package and being a part of the support group because all of those involved in the group are “in the same boat” when it comes to raising grandchildren.

Yvonda said, “We greatly appreciate everything that they did. It was exceptionally nice that they were able to do that for our group. They have called every week to check on us. That really means a lot.”

Debbie LaMaire, another member of the support group, has a sixth-grade grandson and says the support group was something she needed when she moved to Burke County.

LaMaire said, “I was not surprised because Mike and Lisa have always been there when we need them. It is just nice to see them and know that they continue to care no matter what. We have become a family.”

During the group meetings, all the families have a meal together and afterward, children do an activity or play outside with teacher volunteers while grandparents share how their grandchildren are doing in school, any needs they may have, advice and success stories.

Schell said, “These grandparents and kinship caregivers are in a position that not a lot of our parents are in when they are raising these grandchildren.”

For more information or for those who are interested in joining the BCPS FUTuRES Program can call Schell at 828-502-9786.

BCPS Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said, “As we have been mentioning many heroes lately in our community, these grandparents and kinship givers are heroes as well. I am proud of the work Lisa Schell, Mike Massey and the rest of the program mentors and volunteers are doing to make sure this program continues in these unprecedented times.”
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