“I had heard about this Grandparents program through one of the counselors at Pathways and so they put me in touch with ACCA and it has truly been a lifesaver for me and my family,” stated Ruby Mae Smith, a program member of the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program at Athens Community Council on Aging (ACCA). Ms. Smith was excited to meet and personally thank the two representatives from the newly formed 100+ Women Who Care Athens when they presented a donation check to the program on Thursday, June 18, 2015. Smith went on to say, “I have three of my great-grandchildren living with me and this program and the support that I have received from it is something else… one of my biggest challenges comes in the summer months when I am having to buy food for all of us and this program supplements that through their summer food program. I don’t know what I would do without it.”
Sherry Clouser, organizer of the 100+ Women Who Care Athens and Kathleen (Katie) Smith, ACCA Board of Directors and member of 100+ Women Who Care Athens presented checks totaling $1,400 to Paige Powell, Program Director for the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program. “We are so honored to receive such a substantial gift and it will greatly impact our program,” stated Paige Powell, Program Director for the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program.
ACCA’s Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program allows grandparent or relative caregivers to have the social support services needed while facing new challenges. The social network that is created while attending support groups, events, and other activities, allows the relative caregivers to vent frustrations, relieve stress, and gain support from fellow peers who understand the challenges and issues faced while raising a grandchild.
As noted by Ms. Smith, not only does Grandparents Raising Grandchildren offer supportive services, it also can offer supplemental food, case management, health screenings and counseling, parenting education, and support groups for both the relative caregivers and the grandchildren. 100+ Women Who Care Athens chose this program through their selection process and it is the second donation made through the Athens chapter.
100+ Women Who Care Athens is part of the 100 Women Who Care Alliance started in Jackson, Michigan in 2006 by a woman named Karen Dunigan. The aim of her first meeting was to have 100 women give $100 each quarter for a local charity to have a large impact within their community. The idea has quickly spread and there are now over 275 chapters across the country. Sherry Clouser, the local organizer heard about the alliance through a high school friend’s social media post. Clouser read up on the idea and decided this was a concept that could be beneficial to the Athens community. “I’m really involved in my church and giving here and there to different organizations, but this chapter of 100+ Women Who Care Athens really allows us to come together as a group and have a larger impact to organizations,” stated Clouser. Their first official meeting was in March of this year and their first gift was to the Girl Scouts of Northeast Georgia’s Be a Friend First program.
The group comes together to hear 3 “pitches” at each quarterly meeting and then vote on which organization they will support. Katie Smith “pitched” the Grandparents Raising Grandparents program at ACCA because “I love the idea that this program impacts multiple generations within one family. It can benefit the grandparents, parents, children, and relative caregivers… sometimes even the great-grandparents. This gift truly makes a wide range of impact across generations,” stated Smith.
If you have questions about Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, please give us a call at 706-549-4850 or visit our website at www.accaging.org. For more information about the 100+ Women Who Care Athens, check out the website at www.100womenathens.org or email the local chapter at firstname.lastname@example.org