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African American churches have long been a source of support and service for their congregations and communities, including a call to answer the needs of those who are “sick and shut in.” However, although attending to members with physical or mental limitations, the needs of caregivers — family and friends who provide unpaid assistance to adult relatives or friends who need help taking care of themselves — may sometimes be overlooked. Even though churches respond to family caregivers individually as needs are identified, more African American churches need to establish a formal support system for these caregivers.
Now a program called Connecting Caregivers to Community (CC2C) recognizes, educates and supports family caregivers through churches across America. At your church, CC2C may be used to enhance your ministry by providing important tools that enable you to offer group activities and one-on-one support for caregivers.
Although caregiving is a blessing, it also can be a challenge. Family caregivers in a congregation may be lonely, overwhelmed and suffering from stress-related illnesses. Some are unable to attend church services and activities.
By participating in CC2C, your church will demonstrate the love that family caregivers deserve. This program helps to solidify your reputation as a leader and caring circle of faith among members and throughout your local community. It allows your heart and hands to be on display.
CC2C Program Resources
The CC2C program offers comprehensive, self-service resources, including:
- Leaders Organizing Guide
- Communication Tools
- Volunteers Handbook
- Caregivers Handbook
- Prepare to Care: A Caregiving Planning Guide for Families
Resources for Leaders
Leaders Organizing Guide
This resource is for church leaders committed to executing the CC2C program. It includes a CC2C overview, with recommended guidelines and instructions for organizing and managing the program.
This guide provides communication strategies and sample language you may use to stay in contact with family caregivers in your community of faith during the first six months of the program.
Resource for Volunteers
Two roles — Caregiver Buddy Volunteers and Group Activities Volunteers — are described in this handbook, which provides information on how to succeed in the CC2C program.
Resources for Caregivers
The handbook, which will be distributed to all caregivers, contains a notes section for recording instructions during CC2C program activities and jotting down individual plans of action. The handbook also contains helpful resource materials such as stress busters, tips for hiring home care workers, public benefits, resources for African American caregivers and much more.
Prepare to Care: A Caregiving Planning Guide for Families
Each caregiver will need a copy of this guide, which serves as the basis for the education sessions your faith community will conduct during CC2C program activities. The guide outlines five important steps to make caregiving more manageable.