Grandparent Support Network is a support group for grandparents who are providing full time care to their grandchildren.
For the last 10 years, Grandparent Support Network (GSN) has provided peer support for over 100 grandparents providing full-time care for children ages 0-21. A community initiative utilizing the evidence-promising Circle of Parents model, GSN started in 2005, a joint venture of CAPP Center and First Presbyterian Church (FPC). When CAPP closed in 2014, FPC served as interim fiduciary until the YWCA became the official GSN home in March 2015. GSN is a collaborative of YWCA, FPC, participants, volunteers, UNCW interns and community supporters.
GSN is an open group; participants come for as long as they need. Some have been participants for years, while others use group to cope with a challenging life event. Group provides a continuum of support for children and families from birth to college graduation. Every stage of child development brings unique challenges and as children age, so do their caregivers. Caregivers’ physical, mental and emotional health continues to decline and they need assistance and resources to complete their parenting journey.
Caregivers and children meet weekly at FPC for a warm meal and peer support. GSN staff and volunteers are available throughout the week for case management, resource connection and ongoing assistance. At group, caregivers are given needed respite and share strengths, challenges and resources with one another, with guidance from a professional facilitator. Guest speakers provide education on relevant topics. Children meet with mentors for academic and social support and are grouped by age to participate in social and emotional skill building groups and physical activities.
We are always looking for volunteers to mentor and tutor children. Volunteer training is held in August of each year.