Grandparents raising children receive back to school supplies

Local News

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – As many parents prepare for the school year to start, a local youth group is lending a helping hand to grandparents who raise school-age children.

Many of the grandmothers who come to this support group thought after retiring they would travel or have time to themselves. But now they’re raising children once again and helping them get through school. Many have to because the parents are working around the clock, have passed away, or are just plainly out of the picture.

“I was just getting ready to retire. Big plans to travel and do a whole lot of other things. But I rather given that up to raise him. Give him a chance in life,” said Gladys Hawkins, Director of Rochester Advocates For Children. 

Hawkins is raising her 16-year-old great grandson and has been raising him since he was two years old and she was 65.

“When you get a grandchild and your in your 60’s or 70’s and you get a five or six year old, its difficult,” said Hawkins.

It’s an experience she shares with many of the grandparents who are part of the support group Rochester Advocates For Children. She and a youth church group from webster connected during a bingo game at the community place.

“The first thing she said is that they need help with school supplies. So we decided to gather school supplies for all the grandchildren and great grandchildren connected to this group,” said Wendy Lesko, Christian Ed Coordinator at Webster United Church of Christ. “The Love they have for each other, they just support and carrying each other’s burdens, and makes it a little bit easier, even though it’s never going to be easy. But it also helps them see the blessing in it so they’re not so overwhelmed.” 

“We can keep them out of the system. We can raise them to be independent, self sufficient, stable and most of all we want them to be an asset and not a liability to the community,” said Hawkins. 

Lesko says the whole community needs to work together to make everyone’s lives just a little bit better.

 Rochester Advocates For Children operate on donations and have no funding. If you’d like to help, you can give them a call at: 585-797-3115. Email:

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