Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Thank you to all the abuelas (and abuelos) out there!

Abuelita, Nana, Mima, Lita, Abucha, Mama, Abue. These are all ways in which to say Grandmother in Spanish. There are probably others I missed, never mind in other languages. I myself used to call my maternal grandmother Mama Nati (short for Nativity because she was born on Christmas, may she rest in peace).

I had the pleasure of watching an amazing film about grandmothers last week, For the Next 7 Generations. This film tells the stories of thirteen indiginous grandmothers from all over the world who had never met, but came together because they believed it was up to them to share their sacred wisdom in order to save Mother Earth and preserve it for those who came after them. The grandmothers are from all over the world, Tibet, Africa, Alaska, Canada, South America, even Mexico and Nicaragua. In one scene the grandmothers came together and a girl of about nine years made a short movie about them, showing why it was that they came together in the firt place. It was a very touching film and I don't want to spoil it further, but I hope everyone can take the opportunity to watch it for themselves.

There are over 2.5 million grandparents raising their grandchildren across the country. 19%, or almost half a million, of them are Latino. Nationally, over 6 million children are being raised by their grandparents because their parents are not able to. This is a tremendous endevour filled with many hardships, but also love and joy. It's no easy task for anyone involved and these grandparents need the support to be able to do it. There are groups all over that are there to lend a hand, and one such example is in Arizona. Arizona's Children Association has several KARE Family Programs throughout the state to serve grandfamilies, several are in communities with high numbers of Latino populations. They offer support groups, education referrals, legal resource information, assistance with completing paperwork, and much more.

It's been my experience that Abuelas have been held in high esteem and affection. It's when they take on a much more significant role, like that of a primary caregiver, that it becomes clear how vital they really are.

For more information on Arizona's KARE Programs visit www.arizonaschildren.org/karecenter.htm.
For more information on the film about the thirteen indiginous grandmothers visit www.grandmotherscouncil.org.

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