by Gloria Martin Gietz
IN THE COMOX VALLEY
A growing number of grandparents and other relatives serve as parents for children whose own parents are unable to care for them for a time. Sometimes the kinship care is an informal, private arrangement between the parents and the relatives who are caregivers. In other cases it is a formal arrangement because parents are unable to care for their children for a variety of reasons.
The Aboriginal Grandparents Raising Grandchildren group meets on the last Thursday of the month in the Comox Valley of Vancouver Island, from 7- 8:30 p.m.. The address is 956 Grieve Avanue in Courtenay, B.C., at the Early Years Aboriginal Program downstairs, with parking by the back door of the building. All grandparents and kin raising youngsters are welcome to come and enjoy a light snack and a hot drink and conversation.
We have three trained facilitators who are themselves grandmothers. Training and support is provided by our elders and by Parent Support Services of BC with ongoing support. All of us have been referred to become facilitators and have gone through rigorous training and hold a valid Criminal Records Check for working with vulnerable people and sensitive situations.
What we discuss and who attends is kept confidential. We assist grandparents and kin to navigate service systems and to find resources, assistance and answers to solve problems and learn about the services. Sometimes it is good just to enjoy a chat with others who have similar challenges.
Our grandmothers transmit traditions and culture, providing links for family and kin. We recognize that health is more than physical and mental well-being. We share in the group the knowledge gained by life experience. We are not therapists and will refer to such services if needed.
We are currently preparing to circulate flyers to the schools in order to let those who might benefit, know about the meetings. If you know of grandparents or kin who might find welcome and support in this group, please do let them know.
Our upcoming meetings are:
Thursday November 30 | Thursday December 28