• CCE

A FULL CIRCLE OF SUPPORT

What started as a University of Regina research project in 2004 to explore health and social support needs evolved into the Aboriginal Grandmothers Caring for Grandchildren Support Network coordinated by the Lifelong Learning Centre. The network engages in monthly sharing and learning in a supportive environment for grandmothers who have taken on the role of primary caregivers for grandchildren and other extended family members.

Hertha Kay, Outreach Program Assistant in the Lifelong Learning Centre, says the group has grown primarily through word-of-mouth and offers an engaging way of addressing concerns and issues. “The Grandmothers share their personal experiences and knowledge and we also bring in speakers from community agencies to talk about health and well-being, financial matters and traditional teachings.“


"It was a growing need...because we kept getting more grandmothers at a younger age coming in." - Hertha Kay

In turn, some of the participants share their knowledge in a broader way by making presentations about their experiences to social work students as well as to children’s advocacy groups and government agencies. Some of the Grandmothers have made presentations as part of past Indigenous History Month Celebration series. “These presentations were well-received,” notes Kay. "The Grandmothers have another series this June."


"When other people tell their stories I remember that the same thing happened to me and I realize that I am not the only one." - A Network Grandmother

Kay anticipates interest and participation will continue to grow. “It was a growing need before the pandemic because we kept getting more grandmothers at a younger age coming in. The pandemic has kept away some of the older participants who weren’t as comfortable using a computer but we’re hopeful they’ll return now that we've resumed in-person meetings.”


For the participants, the experience that the network provides is an affirming one. “The best part is sharing in the talking circles,” says one of the Grandmothers. “When other people tell their stories I remember that the same thing happened to me and I realize that I am not the only one.”



Learn more and join the Aboriginal Grandmothers Caring for Grandchildren Support Network as well as Intercultural Grandmothers Uniting (IGU).







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