LOGAN, W.Va. — A program through West Virginia State University in coordination with PRIDE can help grandparents raising children in Logan County get the resources and information they need to be successful.
Funded by the West Virginia Legislature, grant funding and several of the state’s health insurance companies, the Healthy Grandfamilies program is a free initiative provided by West Virginia State University to provide information and resources to grandparents who are raising one or more of their grandchildren.
Participants of the program go through a series of nine discussion sessions, which include topics like parenting in the 21st century, communication, technology and social media, legal issues and documents, stress management and negotiating the public school system. Participants are also offered three months of free follow-up services.
According to a 2020 estimate through the National Center for the Analysis of Healthcare Data, upward of 43,000 children in West Virginia are in the primary custody of grandparents. Although Logan County Schools was unable to provide an exact figure by press time, the county is no exception, as the exceptionally high amount of grandfamilies in the county’s school system is often mentioned during open sessions of the Logan County Board of Education.
Logan County’s Healthy Grandfamilies program, which is conducted as part of a coalition with PRIDE Community Services, just completed its first series of sessions, and three participants received their certificates of completion. The second series of sessions is now underway, and Brenda York, the purchasing/program services administrator for PRIDE, says it has already grown substantially to 16 participants enrolled this time around.
“I think it’s going to be very beneficial for the grandfamilies to have this,” York said. “It’s going to bring them some resources that the family needs. It’s going to educate them with parenting in the 21st century, because when they were young and raising their children, it’s like a different world than it is now, and the kids are so much more advanced because of them mixing the older kids in with the younger at the middle school, and kids are learning a whole lot more and they’re learning faster — the social media and the technology — they’re just learning and growing at a fast pace, and they (the grandparents) haven’t been engaged in all the technology that the kids have.”
Tina Allen, a resident of Crooked Creek, is one of the three grandparents who recently completed the first round of the Healthy Grandfamilies program in Logan County. She was led to raising her grandchildren after her son got involved with some legal problems.
Allen said the best aspect of the program for her was the sheer amount of information she received.
“I have never seen so much information in such details that they have laid for us and then at the end telling us that they’re going to help us with bringing these people that would help with legal problems, like if they need to be adopted, if they need to have their names changed, stuff like that,” Allen said. “They’re bringing these people in, and they’re going to help us, and it’s not going to cost us anything. I have tried for a year to get my grandson’s last name changed, and I’ve got the runaround. Well, they’re going to step in and take care of all of this.”
Since the second round of sessions is already underway, anyone interested in the next series of sessions will be put on a waiting list. Those interested can contact Brenda York by calling her office at 304-752-6868 ext. 382, her cell phone at 304-687-2614 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about the program, visit www.healthygrandfamilies.com.