Community Champions: GSU’s grandparenting class

Updated: Mar. 10, 2021 at 12:55 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Sometimes continuing education can be re-education for people learning something they already knew.

“This one fell into those lifelong learners where grandparents are finding that they are in parental roles again,” DeeDee Southerlin said.

Georgia Southern’s Division of Continuing Education is offering a class for those folks later this week, training for older adults taking care of a loved one in a different environment than the one in which they raised their children.

“it’s a new generation. It looks different. It feels different,” Jessika Washington said.

The online course will be taught by Jessika Washington, the Special Education Director for Morgan County Schools, who also does family counseling.

“This is her specialty. You can’t be in special education and not want to help people.”

“I want to hopefully not only have a very good discussion but develop a tool kit. I don’t want anyone to leave feeling like they don’t have a place to start ... we’ll talk about how to build relationships with other community figures so if there is a generation gap creating some conflict in communication, maybe you can have a community member fill in that gap.”

This class is one way GSU Continuing Ed is filling a gap with a course customized to a specific group or need.

“One of the things we want to do and that we are charged to do is to provide programs to the community that are not traditional undergraduate programs or process.”

“I have definitely seen a significant increase in the number of non-traditional families with grandparents raising grandchildren.”

And the WTOC Community Champions presenting the course GrandParenting hope to help families through what can be a difficult situation.

“People have raised their own children, but it looks so different when it’s not your biological child. There are court decisions and court cases and how do you come about getting support. So, we’ll discuss that.”

“I think to understand that there are resources available, to not take for granted if you are overwhelmed or if you find yourself in this position and you can’t handle an x, y, z situation, there are resources, there are people you can contact - your friends, your family, your churches to make sure you bring them into that circle as well to make sure you don’t feel as if you have to do this alone.”

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