Dannette and her husband have been happily married for 43 years. With their three children now grown and having families of their own, they made a reasonable assumption that they were done parenting. That changed when their granddaughter came to live with them last April. Dannette quickly realized there was a lot she didn’t know about being a parent in today’s world. Thankfully she was introduced to SAY San Diego’s Project KEEP program through the San Diego County Foster Parent Association.
Project KEEP provides support and education for foster parents and kinship caregivers, designed to improve their children’s behavior and decrease family stress. Many caregivers are grandparents like Dannette, who are learning to raise kids again with approaches very different from when they were raising their own children.
Dannette says, “Project KEEP taught me how to speak to my granddaughter on her level, how to set boundaries, and teach her about consequences. Before she came to live with me, her life was chaotic. SAY helped me understand that I was only adding to the chaos when I would raise my voice.” These days Dannette is able to show her granddaughter that there’s a benefit to doing simple things like putting her shoes away. She has a chore chart and loves checking tasks off the list. “The tools I learned through Project KEEP are invaluable,” says Dannette.
Dannette feels that kinship families often slip through the cracks and simply don’t know about available resources. She is grateful for the skills and resources she learned from SAY and Project KEEP and always has flyers on hand so that she can share information with those who need it. She continues to seek out information that will help other foster parents and kinship families, and has been called “the Grandma with all the resources” on more than one occasion.
With summer coming to a close, Dannette is preparing for a busy fall. Not only is her granddaughter back to school, Dannette is about to become a full-time student herself. “I’m going back to law school so that I can be an advocate for other kinship families. I think everyone can benefit from parenting assistance and I just want to pay it forward.”