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May 16, 2003     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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May 16, 2003
 

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PAGE 4B HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MAY 16, 20~ By Brenda S. Faiber, MS, LMFT Grandparents Connect Program Coordinator So you ask, how will the GRANDPARENTS Connect program enhance your life? Grandparents are important pieces of the puzzle of family life. Their knowledge, wis- dom and heritage contribute to the tapestry of the family culture. Grandchildrenwhose grandparents are involved in their lives are provided with invaluable family history. Sto- ries that grandparents have to tell are often colorful, heart- warming and enlightening. The study of the origins of families dating back to their early roots, are a window into the past. GRANDPARENTS Connect serves as a vehicle for Jewish and non - Jewish grandpar- ents to come together at holi- day events with their grand- children who are being raised in intermarried families. The programs take place around the major Jewish Holidays: the High Holidays, Chanukah, Tu B'Shevat, Purim, Passover and Shabbat. Each programs fo- cus is about the holiday being celebrated with the story and meaning of the holiday, crafts, food, and sharing of the cus- toms and heritage of the holi- days. The sessions are interac- tive and fun. G randparents are a vital part of the story and are encouraged to share with their grandchildren. After all, grandparents carry on and pass down the family legacy, such an important part of Jewish heritage! Comments from recent participants are, "GRAND- PARENTS Connect serves as a bridge between myself and my grandchildren.""I am not Jewish and feel that it is im- portant for me to learn so that I can participate-with my grandson during the dif- ferent holidays." Some of the grandparents have grand- children who attend Chris- tian parochial schools. The children are learning to ac- cept other cultures/differ- ences and beliefs. One grand- parent stated, "My grandchil- dren want to know "why we are different." This is such a wonderful program. I would never get the opportunity to spend quality time with my grandchild in this way." Garrett, one of the grand- children, had never been ex- posed to'a Passover Seder before. He was so excited when he found the afikomen. His comment to the facilita- tor was, "Thank you so much for the opportunity and the bear (the afikomen prize) that you gave me." The over- all response to the GRAND- PARENTS Connect program has been very positive and grandparents and grandchil' dren are appreciative of opportunity to spend together learnin toms, history and The grandchildren are posed to Judaism in threatening, creative and i teractive activity Both grandparents grandchildren come happy and excited. "Let's Celebrate the next Connect program, will place on Friday evening, 6th at Con Judaism. Participants are vited to the family dinner as well as to Services and the One following services. pants will be seated together' Cost is $5 per famil tions are necessary and be made by June 3. 407- 644 -7593 to make a reS" ervation and for more inf0~" marion. GRANDPARENTS ConneCt is a joint program Jewish Family Services Greater Orlando, The Connection Partnership If you would like to have GRANDPARENTS program in your area, contact Brenda Faiber, gram coordinator 7593, ext. 232. Grandparents connecting with their grandchildren with Jewish craft activities at a recent GRANDPARENTS Connect program. Do grandparents raising kids have to forfeit retirement? ARA--Visions of retire- ment don't typically include attending parent-teacher conferences and helping with nightly homework. Yet for more and more seniors, that is the reality. Over the past 10 years, the number of chil- dren being raised in grand- parent-headed households has increased by 30 percent. Being thrust into the role raises many tough issues for grandparents. First and fore- most, how will they afford retirement while handling the added expense that comes with raising a family? Pro- viding food, shelter and clothing for kids is expen- sive, and the average income for grandparent-headed households is usually under $20,000. Financial expert Chris Farrell, host of Twin Cities Public Television's "Right on the Money!" urges grandpar- ents to think of themselves first. "You can't help your grandkids unless you've taken care of yourself," he says. "While your inclination is to put the child's needs ahead of your own, you actu- ally are serving them better by looking out for yourself first." With that in mind, Farrell offers five practical suggestions for grandparents who face this situation. 1. Don't Sacrifice Your Re- tirement "When money is tight, many grandparents wonder how they'll live in retirement and pay for their grandchild's expenses," says Farrell. "Funding a secure retire- ment should be seniors' first priority." Farrell cautions seniors against borrowing money from their 40](k) plans. While it might be tempting to dip into money previously earmarked for re- tirement, it's not a good idea -and could be trouble in the long run. Grandparents should not stop saving for retirement under any cir- cumstances, especially if they're relatively young in age. Still others imagine they should forsake funding their retirement, and be putting money into a college fund for their grandchildren. But this isn't the best use of their money either. "The child can borrow to go to college," says Farrell. "The grandchild will have more time to pay back the student loan as opposed to a grandparent who faces a more limited time frame. 2. Know Your Resources Resource savvy Grandpar- ents will look to see if they qualify for the TANF program. - (TANF stands for Tempo- rary Assistance to Needy Families.) TANF is a state- run program that offers fi- nancial help to families with a low income. Know going in that rules affecting grandpar- ents and their grandchildren vary from state to state so you'll have to contact the de- partment of social or human services in your county or state to find out more. Be sure to look for finan- cial support and legal services assistance in your area. State and Area Agencies on Aging across the country have insti- tuted programs and services to assist grandparent caregivers and help them identify and access available services. You can reach them at (800) 677-1116 or www.aoa.gov. The AARP Web site: www.aarp.org/grandpar~ ents also offers tips and infor- mation for grandparent caregivers. 3. Make a Will Establishing a will and i tiating estate planning come especially for grandparents who raising their "Grandparents reall will, to make provisions the child or children in1 event something them," advises important to work attorney, name a and appropriatel sets." 4. Explore Health Ins~f" ance Options If you are cov~ cal insurance, look ing your grandchildrer your policy. If that's option, many states health insurance to grandparents with t medical costs. 5. Find Support It is also important out emotional Grandparents who are: ing their gl to psychological and' tional strain as well as ings of helr lation. The~ often their own tional health because give priority to the ne~ their grandc to reach out to others i~. lar circumstances port and ideas," Farr While the parents-as-parents is~ with good plann: plenty of support, sense of joy and a of purpose and that can come from youngsters through additional Chris Farrell on variety of financial visit the "Right c Money!" . Web www.rightont