Group helps grandparents

WARREN — With more grandparents raising their grandchildren, a local group has formed to help provide support.

This spring, Sharon Grover and Bonnie Wilson co-founded Grandparents Raising and Nurturing Grandaughters and Sons (GRANDS). The group meets every two weeks, 6 p.m. Thursdays, at NorthMar Church in Warren.

“Both Sharon and I have a heart for grandparents raising their grandchildren. There are so many grandparents now stepping in as parents. I have been in that role myself and know it is not always that easy to do,” Wilson said.

She said they wanted to help grandparents and provide them with information on programs and services available as well as share resources with them.

Wilson said they want to help educate, equip, support and allow them to come together and share with each other.

“It helps when you know you are not on this journey by yourself. There is not one grandparent we have spoken to who regrets doing this or would not given the chance do it again. They are doing this out of unconditional love,” Wilson said.

She said the opiod epidemic is a major reason many have taken custody of grandchildren.

Wilson said stories they’ve heard is the parents are incarcerated, have died or are addicted in connection to drugs and can not take care of their children.

Grover and Wilson said times have changed from when grandparents raised their own children, such as schooling and the way math is taught today. Other changes include social media, video games, and other technology.

“There is so many things that are new in society. We provide presenters who talk on healthy boundaries and changes in schools. With the dynamics of families changing due to parents not being able to be parents, this affects the grandparents’ relationship with their adult children and grandchildren. There are grandparents who are still working,” Wilson said.

Grover said she believes the support group benefits grandparents by meeting with others who are going through similar situations.

“We can learn from each other, such as the technology of cell phones, Facebook and computers and the dangers that are out there. Grandparents can be honest and open and find resources that they may not have been aware of,” she said.

Grover said drugs have lead to some of the grandchildren being neglected by their parents.

“This group is greatly needed. I have heard there is around 2,000 grandparents in Trumbull County raising their grandparents. We want them to know we are here to help them. We can relate to one another,” she said.

Grover said there also are great-grandparents in their 70s and 80s raising their children’s grandchildren.

Another group, Grand Additions of Ohio for the Mahoning Valley, offers a support program online, but Grover said they wanted to do an in-person group where people can sit and talk with one another.

For information on the group, call the church at 330-856-3496.