At a time when everything is under intense budget scrutiny and tightening resources (including yours truly), it was heartwarming to publish a story about a $50,000 grant that is bringing families together.
Reporter Donna Wright’s 1A piece this Monday explored how the grant from the Manatee County Children's Services Tax Fund is helping the Grandparents As Parents Support group. This group helps relative caregivers who are raising children not their own --anyone who has become mom or dad to children not their own, whether they be grandchildren, nieces and nephews or other relatives.
Donna focused on Diana and Jerry Brown’s extended family: son, Jason, 7, four nieces -- Kayla, 12, Cheyene, 10, Ashley, 7, Hannah, 3 -- and nephew Danny, 5. With the help of Grandparents As Parents Support, the Browns are planning to adopt all five siblings. After our story ran, Kayla took a copy of the Herald to school to show her friends. As the oldest, she has had the toughest time adjusting to her new home. “What a burden for those kids to bear,” Donna said to me in recounting their hardships.
The Browns are trying to make a difference for others, too. As an advocate for relative caregivers, Diana has met with lawmakers in Tallahassee to lobby for changes in Florida law that will give relative caregivers more authority to speak in court on behalf of the children in their care.
There are so many families like this right here. Just look at the online comments with Donna's story -– so many of you are working so hard to give a child a brighter future. This story, we hope, will help others find the guidance and support they need.