Grands As Parents, Inc. recently celebrated its 17th Anniversary Awards Luncheon at Temple University’s Diamond Club in North Philadelphia. Each year the organization honors outstanding leaders who have supported their efforts to raise our children in a healthy, loving, constructive environment.
The 2012 Help a Child Keep a Smile Award recipients were state Sen. Vincent Hughes, state Sen. Shirley M. Kitchen and William Bergman.
“The dedication that these grandparents have given to these children is inspiring, the work that Grands As Parents does to support these folks is wonderful. It was an extreme honor to receive the Help a Child Keep a Smile Award,” said state Sen. Vincent Hughes. “There are very unique and significant challenges that grandparents face as they try to parent young children for a second time, fortunately, organizations such as Grands as Parents are there to provide the critical support these folks need. I will continue to work with Grands as Parents to provide necessary resources to this selfless group of individuals.”
Hughes represents Philadelphia’s Seventh District and serves as Minority Chair of the Appropriations Committee.
Kitchen, who represents Philadelphia’s Third District and has a longstanding relationship with the organization, said, “I was honored to receive the Phenomenal Woman award this year. In many cases, when a grandparent is suddenly faced with raising a grandchild, the financial burden and stress can really wreak havoc. Many grandparents are in their golden years, having raised their own children, and look forward to spending the rest of their days relaxing.
“Grands As Parents is unique in its mission in helping caregivers and families with the resources needed to raise their grandchildren. I applaud all the good work they do on behalf of this special population and I wish Grands As Parents much continued success and look forward to working with them in the future.”
The non-profit organization, founded in 1996 under the leadership of Earnestine McCall and Eileen Brown, president, carries out a vital mission in our community. GAP assists supports and advocates for the rights of grandparents raising grandchildren or other relatives. The 2012 Census shows that grandparents as caregivers has risen alarmingly since 2008.The name of the organization, Grands As Parents, was chosen to signify the way grandparents fill the gaps of parenthood in their grandchildren’s lives.
Brown has raised six grandchildren and is now raising three great-grands. She shares Jean Hackney’s belief that more grandparents would raise their grands, not let them go into the system and provide a loving home with the necessary financial and housing assistance. Both women praised the tireless efforts of Hughes, Kitchen and Bill Bergman of Temple University and the French International School of Philadelphia. Hackney has helped raise a grandson and granddaughter.
GAP Vice President Hackney said, “We are advocating for Senate Bill 119, which supports intergenerational housing, and is sponsored by state Senator Anthony H. Williams and co- sponsored by state Sen. Kitchen. We are most grateful to these leaders for their continued support of our mission.”
“We have two retired gentlemen who help us each and every day. Mr. Thomas Hackney and Mr. Jerry Tinnina are very dedicated to our cause and work with us each and every day as volunteers.” The GAP staff is made up entirely of dedicated volunteers.
“We are fortunate to have others who help to maintain awareness of GAP’s mission such as Delores Sapp from Verizon and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. We are also blessed to have the support of many our state and city elected officials. All of us are fighting for the same thing … those smiles on the faces of our children. The reason we keep fighting so hard is because we want to keep the family unit together as much as possible so that our children will know their family roots,” Brown added.
Grands as Parents (GAP) is located in the African American United Fund Building at 2227 N. Broad St. For more information about volunteering or making a tax deductible contribution, please call (215) 236-5848 or email grandsasparents1@ verizon.net.
Congratulations, and very best wishes to Grands As Parents for continued success.
Have a fantastic week “Out & About.”