Families from the Grandparents as Parents program were invited to Santa Clarita Lanes to enjoy some quality time together as part of the new Bella Vida senior center program.
Bella Vida implemented the new support group last January, assisting grandparents who are primary caregivers for their grandchildren.
Dozens of children and grandparents gathered for a chance to have fun on the lanes and get to know each other.
Linda Davies, facilitator of the program, has been working with families on the program since January, when the senior center was awarded a grant to support the outreach.
“The county awarded to four senior centers, a grant we applied for,” said Davies, “this is a family caregiver support program for grandparents as parents because 1-in-20 kids are being raised by their grandparents.”
Every week, the support group meets at Bella Vida to focus on supporting the families through education, counseling and activities.
“These are all grandparents that have actually stepped up when their grandkids were going to go into the foster system because of something that happened where their bio parents couldn’t take care of them anymore,”so their grandparents stepped up and either gotten guardianship of them or adopted them or caretaking for them,” said Davies.
Judy Petersen, a Santa Clarita resident joined at the bowling event with her husband, Jeff, and grandson Jordan, said she attends the meetings because the information is presented in a useful way, and it helps her and her husband to stay “current.”
“(The Grandparents as Parents program is) very helpful, it keeps us as parents up-to-date about current things that are going on with kids,” said Petersen. “They bring in speakers to educate us with more knowledgeable about what’s going on with technology. Linda is just so organized and very helpful bringing us up-to-date with today’s world.”
Patsy Hazlett, a grandparent in the program, attends meetings in Lancaster but drove down Sunday with her grandson Randy to bowl and to meet others with a similar family structure.
“Linda comes all the way from Santa Clarita to Lancaster for our meetings,” said Hazlett, “When I first met her, I released everything to her and I felt really good, she’s a good listener. She’s a good heart to get this together for all the children and the grandparents — I think that’s pretty good.”
The Grandparents as Parents support group meets every week Thursdays 10-11:30 a.m., and then in the Antelope Valley on Tuesday nights from 6-8 pm.
Anyone looking for information about the Grandparents as Parents program call Bella Vida, the SCV’s senior center at 661-259-9444 ext. 113