Are you parenting grandchildren without support? Do you need support with issues pertaining to your grandchildren? We are here for you! You don’t have to do this alone.
In Association with CANGRANDS (www.cangrands.com).
We met Jodi and Darryl when we were leading Alpha at Elim Church and looking for people to be involved. We had heard that they had some experience with leading the Alpha course and invited them over to get to know them better. We came to know that their hearts for evangelism encompassed using Alpha, but that God had placed a much bigger vision on their hearts to use multiple means to meet needs in various areas. We have seen that blossom in the areas of Grief Share groups, Divorce Care for children affected by divorce, and outreach in the inner city by coffee and sharing times at The Lighthouse, to name a few.
We became aware of the desire to come alongside grandparents who are raising their grandchildren, and the many challenges this presents. We were able to connect a grandmother from BC to receiving some of this support via Skype meetings, as well connecting a grandmother we know in the city to some resources. She’s been greatly encouraged by the support she has received.
We believe one of the areas of gifting Jodi has is visionary; to be able to see areas of great need, and to pray in and motivate the needed people to give themselves to meet these needs. Lives are being changed, and the potential to bring changes to our city’s needy and vulnerable is unlimited. I believe that together we can partner to see the glory of God revealed in our city as the scripture says: “The Earth will be fulfilled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea”. And we say, continue to do it Lord! (Habakkuk 2:14, and Isaiah 11:9)
Over 30 grands and kin attended our “Gratitude for Grands” Christmas Dinner. It was a time of blessing and joy for those in attendance. One grand mentioned it was the only Christmas event they were going to have.
In Sept 2017, I moved to Saskatoon and set up a CANGRANDS chapter for kinship and grandparents raising grandchildren. I had a fall in March and was struggling with doing this local group as well as the online national support work. Then, Lorraine Fajt called me. She is raising her two grandchildren and was looking to set up a support group through RR. We chatted, then met up and have been supporting those who will show up for monthly meetings under the name of Grandfamily Support. The “Gratitude for Grands” Christmas Dinner and a “Picnic in the Park are just a few of the events we’ve hosted. We have more upcoming events planned to include International Grandparent’s Day on Sept 8. As the founder of CANGRANDS, a National Kinship support for the past 25 years, this is a work close and dear to my heart. Between Lorraine Fajt, myself, and our Grandfamily Support Team, we have connected with over 40 kinship folks in SK so far.
My family and I moved to Saskatoon from the rural community of Leask about eleven years ago. I have known Darryl and Jodi Bryant since that time when they pastored the College Park Covenant Church. We kept connecting sporadically over the last decade through the busyness and trials of life. Last spring, we happened to meet in front of Jodi’s house when she was picking up her mail. I had come from the Briarwood Park with my two grandchildren looking for a place to turn around to go back home and ended up on her street. We truly believe that was a divine appointment arranged by God Almighty, because of what has transpired in the past year.
As we quickly tried to catch up on each other’s lives, we discovered we now had more in common than ever. I had recently become the primary caregiver for my two preschool grandchildren, and Jodi had previously been in the kith role, which is a non-relative caring for someone else’s children. We both strongly felt that there was a need in our city and beyond for a support group and resource centre to help grandparents and other kin parent again, in whatever circumstance.
In the lengthy process of developing a local support group, we connected with Betty Cornelius, founder of CANGRANDS National Kinship Support, who had just moved to Saskatoon from Ontario. We valued her expertise and experience of 24 years as a grandparent raising a grandchild, setting up support groups across Canada, and writing bills for Parliament to give grandparents rights in Ontario. She, in turn, had been searching and connecting with like-minded individuals to help carry on her mission in Saskatoon. We all agreed this was another God-orchestrated meeting.
To date, the three of us have joined forces under the umbrella of LifeChange & RR, to form the Grandfamily Support Group, which holds monthly meetings for the caregivers and coordinates a monthly social event for all the grandfamilies. We pray for continued strength, commitment, and wisdom for all who find themselves in situations that warrant seeking out and attending such a group as this. We will journey together.
I received much encouragement from Betty and online correspondence with other folks on CANGRANDS prior to co-founding GIFT in 2001 when my grand was three. GIFT was a support for “Grandparents Involved Full Time” in raising their children’s children. It provided emotional support in the form of regular meetings at several public facilities as a way of encouraging people of all faiths, spiritualities and origins.
Exchanges of clothing, books and toys, as well as regular fun time outings get with the children allowed them to know that they were not alone in this unique family structure. Adults gained knowledge and comfort learning that the system, society and their children’s choices, not their own failures had led to this second time around of parenting. Unfortunately, as the years passed, many of us found our own aging lives, and caring for aged parents as well as the grandchildren, did not allow energy and time to devote to the planning and running of the group.
Statistically, the 2890 + children under 14 years (and there are considerably more raised to 18+, not included in Stats Can 2016) account for most of the 3-6% of children in Sask. who live without their parents. 42% of skipped generation children are raised by only one grandparent. 60% of these households are below the low-income level. In Canada as a whole, 100,500 children aged 0-17 years are in homes whose income is below the poverty line. Low income, aging bodies, children with many emotional and physical challenges cause grandfamilies much stress. However, many of us continue to find strength, sanity and support from Betty Cornelius’s online CANGRANDS for kin carers and denied grandparents and, if we are lucky, a local group to share our cares. My grand and I had the privilege of attending a CANGRANDS summer camp with skilled lecturers. I would like to see something like that happening in SK. I give credit to the support of Grandparent organizations, like RR’s Grandfamily Support, in providing valuable awareness and understandings, enabling the raising of my granddaughter, for her 21 years, to a vibrant, confident, and independent young woman. Mine is only one of many hard-earned success stories.
Betty, who started CANGRANDS, opened up a chapter in Saskatoon and l started going to meetings. We were invited to go to a meeting at Reconciliation Resources. I saw God’s hand in this meeting – how He orchestrated and gave us Christian women to support us and come along side us. We now meet at a local hospitable church the 4th Wednesday of the month.
Grandfamily Support Group in the Media
Methamphetamine addiction is growing and that’s leaving some grandparents with little choice but to cancel retirement so that they can look after their grandchildren full-time. “It’s the grandparents doing the parenting because the parents are unable or unqualified to parent,” said one Manitoba woman who’s fighting to adopt her two grandsons due to her daughter’s …
By Darlene Polachic, Saskatoon StarPhoenix November 11, 2018 GRANDFAMILY holds socials and monthly meetings to offer support to grandparents and other kin and kith who are full-time or part-time caregivers for children and teens. Read more
L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth Candidate
By Courtney Bell BELLEVILLE – After a life of tremendous obstacles, Betty Cornelius created a way for others to not have to suffer like she did. Born and raised in Alberta, Cornelius had a different childhood than most. Her mother put her up for adoption shortly after she was born, and it was her grandmother …
By Chloë Ellingson in Toronto Star Margaret Claus often has a child’s flower hair clip pinned to her silver hair or a homemade elastic bracelet around her wrist. That’s because the 77-year-old widow has been raising her great-granddaughter, Ellie, since the child was born 10 years ago. Read More
By Jeanie Keogh in Impowerage Magazine Giving out contraband candies to your grandchildren when their parents aren’t looking, or secretly letting them stay up late are a few of the guilty pleasures of grandparenting. But as much as grandparents might love their grandchildren, they probably wouldn’t choose to raise them. And yet as of 2001, …