By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sunbeam Family Services is now utilizing video support groups to provide assistance to caregivers and grandparents who are raising their grandchildren.
“Grandfamilies are facing unique challenges during this time,” said Talena Ford, caregiver fundamentals program manager. “Support groups provide an opportunity to share experiences and resources, and have socialization.
“This is a great time to try a support group from the comfort of your own home,” Ford said. “Grandparents may join anonymously and, while sharing is encouraged, it is not required to attend.”
Through the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program, Sunbeam supports grandparents who are raising grandchildren through support groups, school supply assistance, holiday assistance, and other resources.
To participate in this program, grandparents must live in Oklahoma, Cleveland, Canadian or Logan county.
“I am not sure how we would make it through this difficult process without the support, direction and love we receive from Sunbeam’s staff,” said Victoria, a grandmother who participates in the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren support group. “They treat us as if we are not only grandparents raising our grandchildren, but family. And when you’re caring for a beautiful grandchild, times are hard.”
Held Tuesdays and Thursdays in April at 1 p.m., Caregiver Support Groups are for all caregivers to share information, insight, advice and encouragement. Participants will have an opportunity to learn from caregivers who face similar challenges and allow caregivers to talk about experiences.
Established in 1907, Sunbeam is Oklahoma’s longest-serving social service agency. Each year, Sunbeam helps more than 10,500 Central Oklahomans with life-changing services through its Early Childhood Education program, the Foster Care program, Counseling program, and the multifaceted Senior Services program.
A portion of the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program costs are met by state and federal Older Americans Act (OAA) funds from Areawide Aging Agency and Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) Aging Services Division. There are no costs to participants; however, donations are accepted.
Suggested donation per services: Information Services, $1/activity; Access Assistance, $1/activity; Support Group, $2.50/meeting; Respite, $2.50/visit; School Supplies, $5/family; and Training Seminars, $5/seminar.
Through April 15th, donations made to Sunbeam Family Services’ Senior Services programs will be matched up to $20,000, thanks to the Anderson Charitable Foundation. Make a donation here or call 405-609-2311.