TAYLOR COUNTY—Although Healthy Grandfamilies has chosen to suspend the remainder of their Spring Session meetings, organizers are still hoping to help make Easter a little special for children within their program.
As a way to help curb the potential spread of the Novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19, Healthy Grandfamilies Coordinator, Family Services of Marion and Harrison Counties, Mendy Paugh, has reported that all classes of their session have been suspended, as of now.
“I will keep in touch in regard to resuming sessions, as we work to help keep everyone safe during this time,” she said.
Paugh revealed that as of right now, once gatherings are restarted, they will begin with their third meeting and continue on from there.
Before social distancing protocols were put in place, the organization was able to meet for their first two sessions, where they discussed key aspects of communication and how to navigate the legal system.
When their classes resume, attendees will hear tips and tricks on navigating the school system, followed by the next class where healthy literacy and self-care will be topics of discussion, as well as nutrition.
“Although we have been forced to suspend our meetings, we are still hoping to be able to host our Easter egg hunt for the kids,” Paugh revealed. “Of course, that depends upon how long the sessions are suspended for.”
She reported that even if COVID-19 halts the fun, she wants the children in the program to have some sort of normalcy and fun and will be providing Easter baskets for each of them.
“Regardless as to whether or not we get to have the egg hunt, I would still like to make sure that the kiddos have an Easter basket from Healthy Grandfamilies,” she said.
Paugh said in order to make that happen, they are seeking donations from the community. Items requested include candy, plastic eggs, Easter baskets, small toys and other little goodies that could be used.
“We are always happy to receive monetary donations, as well,” she added.
Donations can be made to at the Mountain Statesman newspaper office. Donations can be dropped off in the hallway between the offices, Monday through Thursday, from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.
“We are asking that all donations be dropped off by March 27, so that we can gather them and get the baskets completed,” Paugh noted. “If anyone has any questions, they can feel free to call me at 301-325-0896.”
Healthy Grandfamilies is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and led by West Virginia State University. Additionally, the program is a joint effort of Family Service of Marion and Harrison Counties, the Taylor County Board of Education and the United Way of Marion and Taylor Counties.
The program offers a series of free discussion groups with a goal of providing information and resources to grandparents who have taken on the responsibility of raising one or more of their grandchildren.
Not only do families receive crucial information and great tips during each session, but they are also able to take advantage of three months of free follow-up services, including help locating community resources, confidential assistance in meeting the family’s needs and advocacy services, when needed.
During their sessions, families will discuss various topics including stress management, family relationships, parenting in the 21st Century, nutrition and how to navigate through the legal and school systems, as well as focusing on technology and social media, just to name a few.
“This program is designed to assist and educate grandparents in multiple areas of childhood development,” said Candace Golaszewski, social worker and case manager. “Healthy Grandfamilies provides key information from local professionals specializing in each topic.”
Each session offers dinner, childcare and course materials free of charged for each participant.
For more information about Healthy Grandfamilies and how you can be a part of the program, please contact Golaszewski by phone at 304-366-4750 ext. 113 or by emailing [email protected]
Additionally, Paugh may be contacted by email at [email protected]