Support group meets to help older adults in primary parental roles for grandchildren

By Anthony Engle on December 4 at 8:00am

A local group working towards twenty years of consistent support in the community is not meeting in their regular location this evening, and they have also moved their January meeting.

The Jacksonville Relatives and Grandparents Raising Grandchildren support group has been meeting for 19 years and has welcomed families and area residents throughout the vicinity of West Central Illinois.

Lori Manker is a coordinator of the support group. Manker explains her work that has assisted many people throughout the area.

“I am a caregiver support specialist representing Locust Street Resource Center out of Carlinville, and I cover 10 counties in this position. I work one-on-one with grandparents and relatives who raise their grandchildren or relative children. I also work with caregivers for senior citizens. I live in Chapin, so I’m a local here in Morgan County.”

Manker explains how the group has remained as a safe space for older members of the community tasked with helping raise young family members to have a place for learning and mutual discussion.

“This is the 19th year that this support group has been in place. There have been many families that have found benefit from this group throughout West Central Illinois. As kids grow, families come in and the kids grow up and the families’ needs are met and they move on. I understand that many families are in need of this service, and all our regular meetings are completely free to the public.”

Manker details how the group’s meetings work.

“We meet on the first Tuesday every month, typically at Passavant Hospital, from September through June. Our December meeting, however, is at Community Church of Christ here in Jacksonville.

Manker says the new year means moving the January meeting to Wednesday the second back at Community Church of Christ.

“We will have to make an exception in scheduling for our January date as well, as the first Tuesday of the month is New Year’s Day. So we’re going to be in the church again for our January meeting, because the day had to be switched and that made Passavant’s meeting room unavailable. It will still start at 6 p.m.”

According to Manker, the regular meetings at Passavant Hospital are in Meeting Room 4, which can be found to the left side as you enter Passavant’s main lobby. Community Church of Christ is located at 650 Liberia Street. On Walnut, turn down the street with the dead end sign across from Casey’s. The church is at the far end of the street.