The Caregiver Grandparent Respite and Support Project (C-GRASP) is a partnership with the Town of North Hempstead’s Project Independence. The goal of the program is to raise consciousness and awareness of senior grandparents who have had to take on the role and responsibility of raising their grandchildren – a role that was most likely unexpected and often causes considerable challenges. Many of the children have been impacted by substance abusing parents, child neglect and abuse. Other factors may include abandonment, teenage pregnancy, death, joblessness, divorce, incarceration and illness.
The program offers grandparents who face similar issues the opportunity to meet each other and share their experiences, knowledge, strengths and hopes. The support group also serves as a way to combat isolation, pool resources and support one another. Many grandparent caregivers have not been able to sustain informal support networks because of their new role as caregivers.
The group focus includes:
The program provides home visits and advocacy for those grandparents that may have physical limitations that prevent them from coming to the group activities. Additionally, the program provides respite activities and support services for the grandchildren. Family re-unification is also a major part of the program.
Founded in 1991 by Thelma and Bob Krinsky and a group of concerned, activist grandparents, GASAK’s mission is to support, inform, and advocate for families with autistic children. The group also seeks to raise awareness about autism and provide an informational clearinghouse to empower these families.
Today GASAK continues this mission and expands it through monthly meetings where grandparents attend lectures on autism, other topics related to children with disabilities, health related issues and important research. These grandparents also use these meetings to network and share information on services and issues critical to families impacted by autism. They provide mutual support for the challenging issues that they and their families face.
Many GASAK members participate in activities such as walks to raise much-needed funds for research; traveling to the State Capital in Albany to lobby for the rights of autistic children for special services; and participating in an annual informational legislative breakfast.
Meetings are hosted in Nassau County by North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center at its Roslyn Heights headquarters on the last Thursday of each month at 10:30am -12:00pm and in Suffolk County by The Cody Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities in Port Jefferson Station.