Grandparent Group Gives Support and More
By Renee Burrell
Photo courtesy of Miller family
LARGO - On the 4th Tuesday of every month a Kinship Meeting is held for all grandparents and relatives raising children at the Largo Public Library, 120 Central Park Dr. from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. The program is sponsored by The State of Florida Department of Elder Affairs, the Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas Inc, The Florida Kinship Center and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
In response to the growing number of children placed in kinship homes, supportive services have sprung up and continue to grow in Pinellas and Pasco counties. Adriana Soto, of the Kinship Care Program, facilitates the meetings and is inviting newcomers to join the Largo group. "Come on, ask your questions, listen and learn from others in the same situation. We provide support, referrals, legal information, and parenting education."
The challenges grandparents face include: shifting from a traditional grandparent into the full time role of parent-provider-disciplinarian and doing so while finding sensitive ways to explain to the children why they can't live with their parents.
The Largo group and others in Clearwater, St Petersburg and Pinellas Park offer area grandparents who seek answers and advice the opportunity to meet, learn and benefit from one another's experiences.
Grandparent caregivers attending the Largo group's January meeting said Tuesday that getting together helps them combat isolation and spoke of the numerous benefits of meeting together.
A grandfather in the group raising his two grandsons said he, "Totally sympathizes with what single mothers do alone."
St Petersburg grandmother Jodi Finateri, who is raising grandsons Tyler and Andre, brought tears to more than one eye when she summed up her feelings in a poem she wrote entitled "Grandma".
Grandma's opened her home and her heart!
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