GRAFTON—Over the last eight weeks, a group of local women have found strength and friendship together through a common bond.
A few months ago, the Healthy Grandfamilies program started in Taylor County. On Wednesday, five women attended their last workshop and a graduation ceremony after.
The program is a collaboration with The Taylor County Board of Education, United Way of Marion and Taylor Counties and Family Services.
Healthy Grandfamilies is a free initiative led by West Virginia State University to provide information and resources to grandparents who are raising one or more grandchildren.
During the sessions, 10 topics were discussed over the course of eight workshops, ranging from stress management to healthy eating and Internet safety.
During the last workshop, the group discussed stress management and ways to deal with stress they might be dealing with or the child they are taken care of.
At the end of the workshop, it was time for the graduation ceremony for the five participants.
Cindy Marchewka, Peggy Markley, Lisa Keener, Jane Starkey and Arlene Knotts all received a certificate.
Taylor County Superintendent of Schools Christy Miller expressed that they are thrilled that they were able to partner with the United Way of Marion and Taylor Counties to help bring this project to fruition.
“This is needed, and I understand these five ladies have really forged a wonderful relationship,” she shared. “That is a great outcome of this program, and I hope you can help us grow it for next time.”
Executive Director of the United Way of Marion and Taylor Counties Brett White shared that they are thrilled that they have their first group of graduates.
“It is fantastic for our community, and we hope that they will be ambassadors to help grow program in the future,” he voiced.
Social Worker and Case Manager Candace Golaszewski expressed that the group touched her heart and they were the perfect group to start out with.
“I have created a bond with them that will never be broken as long as I am the social worker for the program,” she commented. “I am glad that they allowed me to come into their lives and help them.”
“It has been a bittersweet journey these past eight weeks,” she added. “I am thankful for them and what they are doing for their grandchildren.”
After the graduation ceremony, the participants received wrapped packages with age appropriate books that were donated by the Taylor County Board of Education, who also donated the meal and cake that was made by Bonnie Belle’s for the last night.
Golaszewski expressed that she looks forward to helping more families in the future, and in January, they will have a support group for the graduates to continue to receive support.
The support group will also be open to other Grandfamilies in the area, and a new session will start in March.
For additional information about the program or to find out how to sign-up contact Golaszewski at 304-366-4750 ext. 113.