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MDRT Foundation Aids Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Program

March 05, 2015

North Shore Senior Center would like to extend a special "Thank You" to the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) Foundation for awarding a $5,000 grant to our Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (GRG) program!

MDRT's support will help cover the cost of supporting low-income grandparents who have stepped in to raise their grandchildren in the parents' absence. These older adults, often with their own health problems, are ill-equipped socially, emotionally and financially to successfully care for children and teens coming from already dysfunctional homes. MDRT's generous assistance will enable North Shore Senior Center to continue providing emotional support, parenting education, and respite and financial counseling to these older adults.

Check out the following story of Joanna, a grandmother who was better able to care for her grandchildren through the help of North Shore Senior Center's GRG program:

Joanna has taken responsibility for her three grandchildren since having them transferred to her care from foster care five years ago. She felt it was in the children's best interest to be raised by a family member and in the Evanston community where they were born and had lived prior to foster care. The children's mother is addicted to drugs and has related mental and physical health problems, thus deeming her unable to care for her three youngsters. The father is unavailable.

Since moving in with Joanna, the children have made leaps and bounds both scholastically and interpersonally. When the family is faced with an obstacle in the community, at school or elsewhere, their loving grandmother advocates for her grandchildren and ensures stability in their lives.

When Joanna was informed that the building they lived in had been foreclosed and would be repossessed by the bank, she had to act quickly to avoid homelessness. Availability of affordable housing is difficult in Evanston, but Joanna was able to locate a new apartment. However, she could not cover all of the related expenses. After collecting as many funds as possible for her friends and family, she reached out to North Shore Senior Center's Evanston Social Services Office for support. Her case manager helped her secure emergency funds from the State of Illinois and North Shore Senior Center as well as financial help from GRG program volunteers and donors. Joanna and her three young grandchildren happily moved to their new apartment, where they still reside.

Joanna continues to attend GRG meetings with her grandchildren each month, building a support system made up of other grandmothers and learning all she can to benefit her grandchildren's present and future lives.

To learn more about our Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program, please contact our Niles Senior & Family Services office at 847.864.3721.