Friday, January 10, 2020

Giving the Gift of Generosity to Children

By Diana Juarez, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Adams County Extension

As a child, the holiday seasons brought me joy because I got a new toy. I remember my mother started a new family tradition, to get a new toy, I had to pick one to donate. As an eight-year-old that was an outrageous thought—Why? My toys are mine, all mine! My mother would go on to explain that other children are less fortunate and don’t have any toys at all to play. The thought of how unhappy I would be without my worn-out doll; I quickly selected a toy to donate. As my mother gathered the donated toys from my siblings and I, she arranged with a friend to pick up the toys. When my mother handed a bag full of toys to her friend—she beamed with happiness. Now as an adult, I still remember the reaction of my mother’s friend to the gesture of generosity, a value my mom taught me.

The holiday season is overwhelming—making list, buying gifts, or planning family visits—who stays where and when--whew! However, the holiday season is a great way to instill a family value: generosity. A study done by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, 2018, showed that charitable giving is passed from parents to children. Growing up, my mother taught me to donate toys, time and gifts to others that are going through a rough situation. Although as a child it was difficult to comprehend giving away “my stuff” to strangers, now I cherish those teachable moments. Whether you’re buying a gift or picking from the Angel Tree’s Salvation Army Program for someone special or volunteering is a great way to pass on the legacy of generosity to family members.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Holiday Resources

By: Gloria Sanchez GRANDcares Site Coordinator, Adams County

Raising a child nowadays is no easy task.  There is so much that one must be aware of -  the  importance of mental health, a positive self-image, developing empathy, cyber-security,  bullying and so on- and so many things to stay on top of – academic achievement, extracurricular activities, medical and dental visits – not to mention the basics such as food, shelter, clothing.  So how does one do it all?  With all the constant day to day pressures throughout the year, the turn of the holiday season only means more added pressure and stress.  Instead of being overcome with holiday cheer, many families become overwhelmed with incessant worry.  The stress created by the worry of not having enough resources to provide a Thanksgiving dinner, or the uncertainty of whether or not the children will have a present under the Christmas tree can be very taxing on a caregiver.  And not being in the right state of mind can be reflected on the quality of care and attention that the child receives.  Therefore, managing stress on a regular basis is definitely a healthy habit, but making it a priority is extremely important, especially during the most wonderful time of the year.  Fortunately, many organizations of the Denver metro area have already recognized this and have taken measures to help ensure that families throughout the mile high city have a bountiful Thanksgiving meal and a very Merry Christmas and Holiday season. 
Two of the largest community events that occur yearly are Operation Freebird- a tradition that started nearly a decade ago and feeds approximately 3,000 families- and Dolls for Daughters/Toys for Boys a program that began in 2007 and now provides a new toy to 14,000+ children in Colorado.  Along with these two mega-magnificent events, there are several other organizations that offer holiday resources that include holiday meals and/or adopt-a-child programs.  Among the popular ones are, The Denver Rescue Mission, Volunteers of America, Salvation Army, A Precious Child, The Christmas Tree Project and Families Forward 
While the objective of these organizations is to provide help and relief during the holidays, there may be some specific requirements and it is important to call in advance or visit their website to get all of the necessary information.  Another way to access local holiday resources is by calling 211, and a well-informed operator can provide resource information based on need and zipcode.  So, although families may be encountering challenging and difficult situations, this holiday season every caregiver deserves the chance and satisfaction of serving a warm meal and every child deserves the magic that comes with opening up a Christmas gift! 
Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Three Tips to Avoiding Burnout

By Diana Juarez, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Adams County Extension

Burnout is everywhere and at some point, everyone suffers from it. The World Health Organization defines burnout as “syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress.”

Finding the time to take care of your health, doing things you find refreshing and have a sense of purpose is a great way to cope with burnout. Burnout happens at work and in our personal lives! Below are a few tips to prevent burnout.

Establish a routine

I need coffee to function as a human. When I wake up, I make my way to the kitchen and turn on my coffee maker. The coffee aroma spreads throughout my home and I instantly feel I can conquer whatever the day throws at me. Whether it’s coffee, tea or a short exercise—find something that brightens your day and make it a habit.

Go for a walk

I take a 20-minute walk when I feel overwhelmed and my brain is unable to process any information. A study showed that getting out of the office for a 20-minute walk close to nature may lower stress levels, get out of the office and get outdoors, the change in environment can make a difference that is instant.

Nourish a Plant

Studies show that caring for plants reduces stress levels and gives you an outlet to cope with negative feelings. When I planted a mini-jack-o lantern June 2019, three months later I harvested four mini pumpkins. There is something about planting and watching a small seed grow into a 4-foot vine with little pumpkins—it’s gratifying to harvest the fruits of your labor.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Celebrating Grandparents on Grandparents Day

By Raquel Daniels GRANDcares Site Coordinator, Larimer County

September 8th is National Grandparents day! Just like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, there is a day to celebrate grandparents. Grandparents day was originally the idea of Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade. She and her husband had 15 children, 43 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild. Her goal was to create a day for families to come together where family members can take the opportunity to honor their grandparents and for grandparents to show their love for their grandchildren. This goal was put into fruition in 1978 when President Jimmy Carter proclaimed the first Sunday after Labor Day as Grandparents Day.
Grandparents day continues to be a day to connect with generations. Grandparents provide much value to their families by providing continued support, love and wisdom to younger generations. There is much strength and guidance older people can impart to their grandchildren. While there are many ways to celebrate Grandparents Day  has several ideas of how to spend it with your grandparent:

Create a Family Tree: Who better to ask about family members and family history than grandparents? Hearing the history from a family member is a great way to learn about where you come from.

Look through old photographs: Old photographs can bring curious looks from younger children and spark fond memories from you. In an age where everything is on screens, recovering old photos creates a different experience to share with your grandchildren.

Tell a Story: Perhaps looking at photos would lead to telling stories about a time from your past. There have been many changes over the years in technology, economics, and other advances. Telling younger children fond memories from your own childhood can be engaging for both of you.

Cook a recipe together: Many families have recipes that are irreplaceable. Spending some time in the kitchen with Grandma or Grandpa and learning a family recipe is a fun way to spend time together. It passes on knowledge and you get to share a meal with someone you care about.

Happy Grandparents Day to all the Grandparents!

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

For the Service Providers in the Room: Working with Grandfamilies

By Aimee Fox MS, GRANDcares graduate research assistant, Colorado State University 

At the GRANDcares project, we hope to strengthen the work of service providers who serve and support grandfamiliesOur webinars aim to provide more education and information about the complexities grandfamilies experience on a daily basis. By being aware of the challenges grandfamilies face and the strengths they possess, service providers can increase their ability to create and implement strengths-based approaches to effectively supporting resilience in grandfamilies 

One tool in helping service providers succeed at supporting grandfamilies is the availability of evidence-based programs (EBPs). To learn more about what EBPs are, why service providers should use EBPs, and how to choose EBPs, check out our fifth webinar, The Importance of Evidence-Based Programs when Working with GrandfamiliesThere are many benefits for service providers to choose and implement an EBP, including research-based program effectiveness, cost savings, reduction in the work of developing a program, improving health and well-being outcomes for grandfamilies, and helping change population prevalence rates of problems.  

If you are interested in learning more about EBPs or want to find an EBP that will work for you and the grandfamilies you serve, visit the following national EBP Registries: 

If you have any questions about evidence-based programs after watching our webinar, or if you are interested in implementing our Powerful Tools for Caregivers – Grandfamilies classes or our Youth Club program, please contact a member of our GRANDcares Project team.

Friday, February 1, 2019

A Healthy You Benefits Your Grandchild Too!

By Raquel Daniels GRANDcares Site Coordinator, Larimer County

As the beginning of the New Year has come again and school is back in session, it can be easy to get caught up in the routine of running from errand to errand without taking time to pause. Drop-off, daycare, homework, and sports; at times the load can be physically and emotionally overwhelming. That is why it is important to remember to take time to care for yourself.

With the regular routine of the day it is easy to put off your own needs by prioritizing the needs of others, but it is essential to remember you are important too. Taking some time for yourself to relax should not be considered a luxury, it is a necessity. One of the best ways to support your grandchild is to support yourself. Regularly setting aside some time to relax, take up a hobby, exercise or another activity you find enjoyable will help avoid burnout in the future. While at times it may sometimes lead to feelings of guilt, reframing that thought by reminding yourself why taking time for yourself is important can counteract some negative self-talk. Making an effort to plan healthy meals, get adequate sleep and attending regular medical visits can all be beneficial to your overall health and well-being.

Along with taking time for yourself, spending time with others can be beneficial as well. Utilizing supports in your area such as social support groups or community resources can help you feel more connected to your community through a sense of belonging and feel less alone. Remembering to give yourself permission to pause and be kind to yourself in doing so will go a long way.

Several supports right in Larimer County, Colorado are:

“HUGS” daytime social group through the Grand Family Coalition Inc.,
For more information contact Gail Engel at or 970-699-2837

Grandfamily Support Program through the Namaqua Center
For more information contact Craig Callan at or 970-494-4231

Wellness Classes offered at Fort Collins Senior Center
For more information contact Sue Schneider at or 970-498-6014

To find supports in your state visit to see what programs are available near you:

Friday, November 30, 2018

Celebrating Grandparents raising Grandchildren on National Caregiver's Month

Written by: Destiny-Joyce Quinsaat-Tobosa, Program Assistant, GRANDcares

“Family members, friends, and neighbors devote countless hours to providing care to their relatives or loved ones. During National Family Caregivers Month, we recognize and thank the humble heroes who do so much to keep our families and communities strong.”

President Barack Obama, NFC Month Proclamation 2012
We have just finished celebrating National Family Caregiver month! A month dedicated to family caregivers that allows organizations to raise awareness of family caregiver issues, increase support for caregivers, and most importantly CELEBRATE all they do! President Clinton signed the first National Family Caregiver Month Presidential Proclamation in 1997 and every president since has continued by issuing an annual proclamation recognizing and honoring family caregivers each November (

My name is Destiny and I am the GRANDcares Program Assistant in Maui County. I was introduced to the program back in 2017 when my mom started taking the classes in Kahului. Since then, GRANDcares has been very important and close to my heart. Currently, I can see my mom taking the tools she has learned from the classes and implementing them into her own life to help reduce the everyday stress she experiences from taking care of my niece. My mom often uses “Me Moments” to help her regain her train of thought and to help her calm down. She also uses the Action Plan in order to set and keep to her goals. The program has dramatically impacted the way my family dynamic is since we can all take some tips and use them in our day to day lives.

The Hawaii and Colorado GRANDcares programs celebrate and honor all caregiving participants – grandparents raising grandchildren and all other types of family caregivers.  

Many of the grandparent caregivers who have participated in GRANDcares find it difficult at times to think of and put themselves first. But even small self-care steps taken daily or weekly have made a big difference – both to themselves and their grandchildren. Here are some of the steps our grandparents have taken:
      Take medications on time each day
      Stop for 30 minutes to watch a show (Criminal Minds is a personal favorite of mine at the moment)
      Know personal limits – and say “NO!”
      Ask for and accept help from others
      Talk to a counselor, friend or family member who is a good listener
      Post notes around the house that are reminders that you are as important as the grandchildren you are raising
      Hire a babysitter and go to a movie or sit on the beach
      Take time out without feeling guilt

We honor and celebrate all that grandparents do and sacrifice to make sure that their grandchildren grow up healthy, happy and safe. You are not alone and we encourage you to continue your great work, to reach out to others in similar situations, and most importantly to stop to take care of yourselves so that you and your grandchildren can thrive.