Upcoming Event Connects Grandparents Raising Grandkids With Community Resources
A resource fair this weekend at the Library Station is for grandparents who are have taken on the role of mom and dad their grandchildren. Grandparents Raising Grandchildren will be held from 1 to 4 Saturday, March 8.
One of the coordinators of the event is Gina Marie Walden who works for the Springfield-Greene County Library. She and her husband are raising her three-year-old grandson.
The boy’s biological parents were addicted to opioids and heroin when he was born and were unable to care for him properly. His grandparents were granted guardianship, and a few months later his biological mom died of a drug overdose. Walden says they adopted their grandson about the time he turned one. And making that decision was an easy one.
"He's our grandbaby. We love him, and, of course, we love our son, and, so, how could we not want to care for him?" she said.
According to Walden, children are victims of the opioid epidemic. And so are grandparents who are unexpectedly taking on the responsibility of caring for their grandchildren.
"They're victims as well because, you know, you're grieving," she said. "You're worried for your child and you're grieving for...what they're having to go through and then, of course, you grieve for your grandchild because you want the very best for your children, which includes your grandchildren as well," said Walden.
Getting connected with resources that are available to help them is extremely important. For Walden and her husband, an immediate need was childcare so they could continue working. Some grandparents are choosing between buying medicine for themselves or buying food for their grandchildren.
"And they will make that sacrifice," she said. "They love them that much. I mean, that's what they're doing--they're stepping forward and caring and protecting and loving their grandchildren as best as they can."
But Walden says there’s help available for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren—they just need to know how to access it. That’s why resource fairs are so important.
The Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Resource Fair Saturday from 1 to 4 at the Library Station is being presented by the library and Be a Jewel.
And not only can you find resources available in the community, Walden says it’s a chance for people to meet others in similar situations.
Find out more at thelibrary.org.