One day at church Ray Debusk mentioned that he sometimes finds it difficult raising a 6-year-old granddaughter at a time when he thought his days of raising children were behind him. Before long two other people at the church said they were experiencing the same thing.
“The first time it got me I was at a kindergarten event with my granddaughter and I noticed there were more gray-haired people than young parents there, and it’s like that every time I go to one of her functions,” Debusk said. “I’m just at the point where I don’t know what to do.”
To try to find some answers, Debusk and the Freedom Fellowship Church, 7451 Pea Ridge Road, Hillsboro, are trying to start a support group for grandparents and others who are not the actual parents but are raising children.
“It could be for anyone – grandparents, aunts, uncles – anybody that’s raising nieces, nephews or grandkids for whatever reason,” Debusk said. “We’re just trying to get it off the ground so we can talk to each other and support each other. Maybe someone just needs someone to call and have a shoulder to lean on that day. It’s something that I feel is not being brought to the forefront.”
A meeting has been scheduled for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 14 at the church fellowship hall. It is open to anyone interested.
“I’ve been pastoring a little over 25 years and in church I’ve seen a steep increase in grandparents, aunts, uncles – we even have one girl who is raising a sibling’s child,” said Chris Fannin, the pastor at Freedom Fellowship. “I think it’s a big need because those people have a need that maybe I can’t help them with.
“We want to make this a ministry and maybe for it to be a service to the community.”
Debusk said the meeting has been scheduled for the afternoon because some children will be in school and that might make it easier for those who are raising them to attend the meeting. But he said that if there are people who think a different time of day might be better, he is open to that.
He said he would like to start holding meetings on a regular basis.
Debusk can be reached at 937-393-8622.
“I hope my phone rings off the hook,” he said. “I hope this thing grows to the point where we’re really helping people.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or firstname.lastname@example.org.