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Library to Host Event Feb. 16 for Grandparents Raising Grandkids

Springfield-Greene County Library District

In Greene County, the most recent census data shows more than 1,600 grandparents are responsible for raising their grandchildren.  An upcoming event hosted by the Springfield-Greene County Library District will help them navigate the challenges that come with that.

Gina Marie Walden and her husband Glen were empty nesters for nearly six years when, unexpectedly, at ages 49 and 51, they became guardians to their baby grandson, Ayden.

Both Ayden’s mother and father, the Walden's son, were caught up in the opioid epidemic, in the grips of heroin addiction and unable to care for their child.

“I can’t even explain how heartbreaking it is because you feel that if you could do anything to help make your child’s parents better – your grandchild’s parents better, you would do it. You would do anything to make them be okay. But you know, that doesn’t always happen and when it doesn’t you end up creating this 'grand-family,'” Walden said.

The Waldens have been raising Ayden for two years.  

ayden_grands_1.jpg
Credit Gina Marie Walden
Gina Marie and Glen Walden pose for a photo with their grandson at Bass Pro Shops.

Gina Marie says being a parent again is a whirlwind and takes a lot of energy. She feels empathetic for others who are raising their grandkids.

As circulation manager at the Midtown Carnegie Branch Library in Springfield, Walden is paying it forward by helping with The Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Resource Fair.
 

She says the fair is a valuable resource for those who need many different types of assistance or even just a supportive community.
 

“For the 'grand-families' that are out there, just, you know, we hope that they know that they are not alone and there’s a lot of wonderful community resources and partners out here for them, to help them,” Walden said.

The fair will be held at the Library Station on Saturday, February 16 from 1-4 p.m. Find more information here.