Duet Partnership: Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Program

Did you know that there are approximately 32,000 grandparents and other relatives raising grandchildren in Maricopa County, and an estimated 3 million nationwide? Grandparents are often called upon to step in when their adult children are unable to handle child-rearing responsibilities. This new role can be emotionally, financially and physically stressful for grandparents. Fortunately, there’s assistance available through Duet, an organization that provides support for seniors.

Desert Financial has supported Duet Partners in Health in Aging for more than 10 years, specifically for their Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program. The services Duet provides help grandparents take on these new responsibilities and reduces the need for foster care placement.

“We know that providing a stable home environment is critical for children’s academic and overall development,” said Emma Garcia, AVP of Community Relations at Desert Financial Credit Union. “Duet’s services help siblings and families stay together, especially after the trauma of temporary or permanent loss of a parent caregiver. With a little extra help, grandparents are making an incredible difference for their grandchildren.”

Discover Duet: Partners in Health & Aging

Duet is a nonprofit, interfaith organization with a mission to “promote health and well-being through vitally needed (free-of-charge) services to homebound adults, family, caregivers, faith communities and grandfamilies.” As a partner for those in need, Duet is passionate about creating a “community where every person ages with compassion, dignity and hope.”

For nearly 40 years in Phoenix, Duet’s stewardship is based on “one person helping another,” such as caring partners and compassionate volunteers who give their time and money to be there for someone in need. Duet changes lives by building relationships with businesses, nonprofits, municipalities, government organizations and faith communities with one goal in mind: “to provide crucial services to older adults throughout the Valley and to keep pace with the growing needs of our community.”

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Program

Desert Financial has been a longtime supporter of Duet’s Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program, providing more than $65,000 in grant funds. As an organization with a passion to help and mission to share success, we partner with Duet to serve as an additional resource for grandparents in second-time-around parenting roles.

Unexpectedly stepping into this role creates complex situations and new family dynamics within multi-generational households. Duet and Desert Financial work together to help guardians and caretakers manage these challenging responsibilities. Available services include support groups, free legal guidance, guardianship clinics, referral services, respite assistance, educational workshops, family activities/outings and a grandparents’ retreat (services have changed due to prioritizing the safety and well-being of the organization’s service recipients amid COVID-19).

Duet Partners in Compassion Video

Duet is a vibrant source of help and hope for thousands of people, like Frances and Mac, who have grown into their parenting roles through participating in the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program.

Frances and Mac’s Story: Life-Changing News

“We ended up getting a call from child’s services and they said there’s an issue with one of our granddaughters."

We have to make the best of this. We need to reach out and get the support we need, along with the support we need for our granddaughter. And that’s when we reached out to Patricia [Director of Kinship Care Services] at Duet. That was another stepping stone for us.

Embracing Support

I ended up going to one of Patricia’s grandparent meetings and when I heard Patricia talking — I didn’t feel like I was judged. I needed someone to talk to that was not going to judge me, but also understood what I was going through.

There were a lot of grandparents going through the same situation as we are, as far as having to step up and raise their grandkids. These are people we see in our everyday lives, not just at the grandparents meeting, but who worked and lived in the same area we did. A lot of times we’d go out for lunch and sit down and talk. It was very helpful and these are some of the resources we gained from Duet. We also gained some friendships from it.

A Family Finding Hope

I just did not think that we would be able to raise [our granddaughter] at our age. I didn’t think we could do it. I would also think back on things Patricia said and it just gave me hope that we can get through this. Every resource that she gave me, every number that she gave me, I called. Here we are seven years later.

One of the biggest things about it, by getting her into some of these activities Duet provided, it allowed her to meet other kids and open up more. Once she started doing that, she wasn’t alone. Stay strong, realize what you’ve gotten into and what you need to do to raise good strong children, and keep yourself mentally grounded as well.

Last Words on Paying It Forward

And always give back. When you get into a position where you’ve done all you can do for yourself, reach back out — volunteer.”

Meeting Community Needs in a COVID-19 World

Duet’s Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program has been severely impacted by the pandemic, and an estimated 90% of people whom Duet serves are considered high-risk for contracting COVID-19. Our communities are in need, and despite significant financial vulnerability, Duet’s commitment to helping hundreds of homebound adults, family caregivers, faith communities and grandparents has not been interrupted. Duet continues to provide vital services and ensure older adults don’t have to feel alone.

Doing Our Part to Make the Desert Financial Difference

We support grandparents and their grandchildren, who may otherwise be placed in foster care, by providing critical financial assistance. In 2019 alone, we donated $12,500. This year, we were able to give Duet a $5,000 emergency grant to help with Duet’s service delivery that’s been negatively affected by the pandemic. The grant funds services like grocery shopping, friendly calls, rides to medical appointments, virtual support groups, workshops, legal assistant, respite care, families activities, personalized guidance, volunteer training and more for hundreds of older adult family caregivers.

How can you do your part? Give back! As a volunteer, you will make a difference in a neighbor’s life by bringing help and hope. Many seniors in isolation are struggling with loneliness, especially during our COVID-19 new normal. Providing essential assistance and simply being someone to talk to can keep a neighbor’s spirits up and brighten their day.

Reach Out!

If you’d like to volunteer, donate or ask for help, contact Duet by calling (602) 274-5022, Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. You can truly impact someone’s life by lending compassion and giving hope, or you can get the assistance you need in health and aging. Duet is here for you!

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The material presented here is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to be used as financial, investment, or legal advice.