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Programs Now Available to Support Grandparents Raising Young Grandkids

Shopping with your child can help them eat better

Focus on “second-time” parents critical to help build strong families

Northwest Maricopa, Arizona (February 6, 2013) – Imagine reaching your golden years and then suddenly finding yourself raising your infant, toddler or preschool-age grandchildren.

This is an increasingly common experience for grandparents, especially in the Northwest Valley. In fact, according to a community report commissioned by the First Things First Northwest Maricopa Regional Partnership Council, 13.2 percent of children ages 5 and younger in the region are being raised by their grandparents, a rate slightly greater than the Maricopa County rate of 12.5 percent.

“For many older adults, it’s been 20 or 30 years since they raised an infant or toddler. We know so much more now about how young kids develop and learn, and how critical those early years are to their success in school and in life,” said Christina Lyons, Regional Director of the FTF Northwest Maricopa region. “There is clearly a need in our area for programs that give grandparents the information they need to make the best choices for the education and health of their grandchildren.”

In order to address this growing need, the FTF Northwest Maricopa Regional Council is funding community-based programs targeting grand-families. A series of free support groups, parent education sessions and family activities are all being offered now in the Northwest Valley.

These will address some of the particular issues faced by second-time parents:  finding opportunities for their young grandchildren to socialize with other children, developing coping skills for the change in the family unit, financial and legal issues, updating parenting skills and information and referral to access other needed services.

Benevilla, a not-for-profit in Surprise, in partnership with Phoenix-based non-profit Duet, are administering the program throughout the Northwest Valley.

Sherry Griffin, Grandparents Raising Granchildren Program Specialist, leads the program, which is free and open to any grandparent raising grandchildren. Along with the regular support meetings listed below, there will also be a free Grandfamilies Conference held on March 2 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the AASK Building, 15396 N. 83rd Ave., Suite A100, Peoria. To register, contact Griffin at 623-207-6016.

List of support meetings:

  • Grandfamilies of Peoria
    Meets the Second and Fourth Wednesday of each month
    From 9 to 11 a.m.
    Apostles Lutheran Church, 7020 W. Cactus Rd., Peoria
  • Grandfamilies of Surprise
    Meets the second Sunday of the month
    From 2 to 4 p.m.
    Benevilla Main Campus, 16752 N. Greasewood St., Surprise
  • Surprise Grandmothers Group
    Meets the Second and Fourth Wednesday of each month
    From 2 to 4 p.m.
    Birts at Benevilla Main Campus, 16752 N. Greasewood St., Surprise
  • Grandfamilies of Peoria
    Meets the Second and Fourth Wednesday of each month
    From 9 to 11 a.m.
    Apostles Lutheran Church, 7020 W. Cactus Rd., Peoria
  • Grandfamilies of Wickenburg
    Meets every other Friday, March through January
    From 8:15 to 10 a.m.
    Hassayampa Elementary School, 251 S. Tegner St., Wickenburg
  • Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Sharing Group – Glendale (led by Duet)
    Meets every second Thursday of each month
    From 9 to 11 a.m.
    First United Methodist Church of Glendale, 7102 N. 58th Dr., Room 101, Glendale

For more information about First Things First and the Northwest Maricopa Regional Council, please visit firstthingsfirst.org/regions/northwest-marciopa.

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About First Things First – First Things First is a voter-created, statewide organization that funds early education and health programs to help kids be successful once they enter kindergarten. Decisions about how those funds are spent are made by local councils staffed by community volunteers. To learn more, please visit firstthingsfirst.org.

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