As families across the Roanoke Valley prepare to join together in gratitude, many are missing someone.
For a child like Johnny, who lives with his grandmother, this season of giving and thanksgiving will be affected in ways we may never know.
“Addiction and incarceration, child abuse and neglect, and economic factors all have contributed to a rise in the number of custodial grandparents,” according to a recent article on the reasons why more grandparents are raising grandchildren.
Johnny’s mom is working to rehabilitate from drug addiction. His grandma Vivian works part-time while trying to keep track of Johnny and his sister Izzy’s school and other activities.
Both grandparent and grandchild experience difficulties.
The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) indicate children being raised in grandparent-headed families often display developmental, physical, behavioral, academic, and emotional problems.
Limited financial resources, difficulties navigating social services as a custodial grandparent, and decreased mobility and energy make raising a grandchild especially taxing on an aging person’s emotional health.
“They may also have less time to spend with their partners and friends. This loss of time can be stressful and can cause feelings of anger, grief, and loss,” says AAMFT.
And Johnny’s family is not alone.
According to the Voices for Virginia’s Children (2012), the percentage of grandparents raising their grandchildren:
Roanoke County 58.6%
City of Roanoke at 54.3%
Salem at 40.6%
Family Service is uniquely able to meet critical needs of families like Johnny’s. They received in-home services for families in crisis to ensure children receive what they need to be successful in school, home and the community. Johnny and Izzy also came to play therapy, which can help children who are experiencing life change and struggling to adapt. They found support through positive youth development groups during after-school, where they could also meet with a community counselor anytime they wanted, because the counselor was there every day when they got off the bus. Grandma Vivian benefited from caregiver counseling with counselors who are trained in matters specifically related to aging and changing life roles.
The good news is YOU can help give other families the chance Johnny’s family has for a happier, healthier life!
Invest in Family Service to Give a Chance to a Child, a Family, our Community! Healthy families are the building blocks of a healthy community and your gift today is an investment in the health and well-being of the Roanoke Valley!!
Give online at www.fsrv.org to raise $10,000 by Thanksgiving