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Celebrating the Role of Grandparents During Holidays

The number of grandparents raising grandchildren surpassed 3 million in a recent survey. (crystalmariesing./Twenty20)
The number of grandparents raising grandchildren surpassed 3 million in a recent survey. (crystalmariesing./Twenty20)
December 20, 2018

PORTLAND, Ore. – Families are coming together for the holidays, and that includes families that don't fit the traditional model, such as grandparents taking care of their grandchildren.

In Oregon, more than 24,000 grandparents are responsible for the grandchildren that live with them, according to data from 2017.

Derenda Schubert is executive director of Bridge Meadows, an endeavor that brings youth formerly in foster care together with older Oregonians, some of whom were in foster care themselves.

Schubert says families come in many different shapes.

"Family is what we make it, and family can include our neighbors and children in foster care,” she states. “They're all our kids. They're not somebody else's kids.

“And the more healthy our children are in our communities, the healthier our communities and the stronger our communities are."

More than 11,000 children in Oregon enter the foster care system each year.

Nationwide, the number of grandparents raising grandchildren is rising, surpassing 3 million, according to a recent survey.

AARP offers resources for these grandparents on its website.

Schubert says children get plenty of love from grandparents, biologically related or not, and get to understand aging better.

"They also get some wisdom and guidance when they're feeling overwhelmed,” she points out. “There are elders who can say, you know, 'Honey, been there, done that. It's going to be all right.'"

Schubert says the older folks at Bridge Meadows benefit too, telling her they feel a greater sense of purpose and vibrancy.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR