A GRANDPARENT who saw a need for a program to support grandparents and other caregivers of children other than their own is celebrating a landmark.
The YWCA-sponsored summer Kindership Care program at Park Elementary School has developed into a full-scale, year-round program. The YWCA started the program a year ago in Annapolis and West County. A branch opened last April at the Harundale Presbyterian Church, and a new one is starting in Freetown.
Frances Hullett, a former addiction counselor at North County Hospital, leads the program at Park. Hullett is a Park grandparent who believed the program was needed in the North County area. She approached Park Principal Diane Lenzi, who joined her effort. "I went to Mrs. Lenzi and asked if there were someplace that caregivers could go for help," Hullett said. Lenzi promised to look into it, and before long, Hullett got a call from the school and met with the YWCA. "And we got started," she said. "It all happened very fast."
YWCA Kindership Care Program Director Claudia Dock said the number of nontraditional families is growing. "It is not a cultural thing, it is a human thing. It is a national problem that will become a phenomenon."
Caregivers and children meet at the school Wednesday evenings for a family meal and conversation. After the meal, the children meet as a group with a certified child care specialist for age-appropriate activities.
"The children have their own issues," Dock said. "They can feel abandoned and have self-esteem issues."
While the children meet, the caregivers meet to gather strength from one another and to discuss the challenges of raising a second generation of children.
"Some of us may not have legal custody, so we talk about the differences between legal and temporary custody, and the rights that we do have," Hullett said. "If there is a need and interest, we have a guest speaker come and answer questions."
Other issues include conflict-resolution techniques, generational rivalry, and balancing the needs of spouses while taking care of new child-rearing responsibilities.
"We laugh and we cry and we get to the comfort zone. At first you listen and see how other people open up, then you open up, and then the healing takes place," Hullett said. "People learn that they are not alone; there are many families out there that are taking care of grandchildren.
"We cheer each other up and learn how to answer [children's] questions without being hurtful."
Kindership programs are open to everyone. Information: 410-222-6593. Information about other locations: 410-551-2411.
Community yard sale
The Olde Brooklyn Park Improvement Association will hold its annual community yard sale at 8 a.m. Saturday.
Residents will have tables set up from First to 18th avenues west of Ritchie Highway along Morgan, Marshall, Chatam, Park and Valley roads. Rain date is Oct. 3.
The St. John United Methodist Church will sponsor a revival at 7: 30 p.m. Wednesday to Friday. The guest minister will be the Rev. Grady A. Yeargin, pastor of the City Temple Baptist Church in Baltimore. The theme will be "God formed us, sin deformed us, but Christ can transform us." All faiths are welcome to attend. The St. John United Methodist Church is at 6019 Belle Grove Road. Information: the Rev. Susan Spears, 410-636-2578.
A roast beef dinner will be held from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at the Brooklyn United Methodist Church at Fourth Street and Pontiac Avenue.
Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for children. The menu will include roast beef, mashed potatoes and assorted vegetables, bread and beverage. Carryouts will be available. Baked goods also will be sold.
The dinner is sponsored by the BUMC Sunshine Circle. Members will also have the 1999 Entertainment Books for sale at the dinner.
Knights of Columbus Monsignor Ripple Council 5370 will hold a Spaghetti Luncheon and Social Bingo on Oct. 3 in the council home, 3701 Fifth St. The luncheon is at 1 p.m. and bingo begins at 2 p.m. Admission is $7.50 and includes a lunch of spaghetti, salad, dessert and beverage, and one bingo card.
Information: Jack or Millie Finck, 410-536-7262.
The Roland Terrace Democratic Club sponsors a weekly bingo party every Thursday at the club hall, 619 Matthews Ave. Games begin at 7 p.m. and the kitchen is open. Information: 410-636-1504.
Pub Date: 9/26/99