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November 11, 2004

Workshop for Grandparents Offers Help With Rearing Grandchildren and Other Relatives

Grandparents rearing their grandchildren and other relatives taking care of children of family members are the focus of a new initiative in Northeast Louisiana.

ULM Family Connections has joined forces with the Ouachita Council on Aging and the Association of Retired Persons of Louisiana to launch a new project that focuses on the needs of these families. A workshop titled "Recycled Parenting" will be conducted at the ULM Alumni Center and will serve as the launching pad for this new project.

The workshop will be at the ULM Alumni Center Thursday, November 18, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The cost is $10, and scholarships are available for all grandparents and relatives who want to participate and need assistance. Lunch is included.

"Recycled Parenting," is designed to provide supports and assistance to parents who have assumed the responsibility of parenting the children of their relatives. Louisiana ranks fourth in the nation of the percentage of children being cared for by a grandparent or other relative. These specially formed families are in need of information, support, and assistance they don't always know how to access. The grandparents are struggling to make ends meet, and everyone, including the children, suffers from the anxiety and stress that the family experiences.

Local service providers, including the Monroe City FINS office, the Office of Family Support, the Northeast Regional Health Center, and the ULM Gerontology Department, will provide brief overviews of services and supports that are available to grandparents and relatives who find themselves in these new family situations. Rev. Oliver Billips of the Mt. Olivet Baptist Church will share his personal experience of being reared by a grandparent and what it has meant to him in his life.

For more information on the "Recycled Parenting" Workshop, contact Linda Christmas at ULM Family Connections at 318-340-0230 or 1-888-655-9564, or Fannie Holland at the Ouachita Council On Aging at 318-387-0535.

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