Two informational conferences were held in late March to provide resources and support for grandparents raising grandchildren and other young relatives. The Centre in Rolla was the site of the Phelps County GrandFamily Informational Gathering and First United Methodist Church in Poplar Bluff housed the March 25 Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Conference.
“Grandparents and the grandchildren they are raising need support now more than ever,” said Diane Hall, AARP Missouri associate state director for Community Operations. “There are many joys for grandparents raising grandchildren, but there are also significant challenges that range from financial to emotional.”
GrandFamily Informational Gathering in Rolla
The GrandFamily Informational Gathering opened with a keynote presentation by R. Diane Hall, AARP Missouri associate state director for Community Operations. Her address was titled “GrandFamilies: A Legacy of Love.” Four workshops rounded out the day that included a complimentary lunch and on-site recreational day care for children who accompanied their grandparents.
The first workshop was “Helping Kids through Traumatic Times”, presented by Mary Beth Myers, Ph.D., coordinator of Education and Training and a Missouri advance certified substance abuse professional with Prevention Consultants of Missouri. Jeff McKune, who has 25 years experience in information technology, led a session on “Internet Savvy Grandparents.” The third session featured Michelle Hoffman, a United Way 2-1-1- resource specialist, who discussed “Accessing Community Resources Through 2-1-1.” The final session of the day focused on “Legal Issues” presented by Emily Woodward, Esq., attorney with Birdsong, Mills & McBride, P.C.
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Conference in Poplar Bluff
At this event, Hall again delivered the keynote opening presentation after the 8:30 a.m. registration. Educational seminars kicked- off with a session titled “Challenging Behavior of Children” presented by Julie Thomas of SEMO Behavioral Health. Sarah Jane Faughn of the Butler County Health Department presented “A Balanced Diet Based on A Balanced Budget,” and Dr. Martha Margreiter of Poplar Bluff Pediatrics addressed “Grandchildren’s Health Issues.”