This coming Sunday, September 7th is National Grandparents Day, a time to show appreciation for our grandparents and all they do for us.

This day gives everyone an opportunity to celebrate Kentucky’s grandparents, including those who stepped up to raise over 60,000 grandchildren in 2012.  In Kentucky, six percent of children are in the care of their grandparents, one of the highest rates in the nation. These grandparents were called on to step up and be the primary caregivers for children, a role they probably weren’t prepared for, when the children could not safely stay with their parents. These grandparents were willing to provide a safe and loving home for their grandkids in these situations.

It is important for grandparents to have access to community supports and tools to combat the challenges associated with the difficult task of raising grandchildren, many of whom have been exposed to trauma. Despite the challenges faced by kinship caregivers like grandparents, research shows children fare better when placed with relatives than in other out-of-home care settings. The thousands of grandparents raising grandchildren in Kentucky are helping to support better futures for Kentucky’s kids.

Grandparents do extraordinary things like providing child care, providing respite to parents, and making children feel special in order to support their families—and many are doing much more than that as they raise their grandchildren. Just like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, Grandparents Day is a time to celebrate those important people in our lives.

Ways you can celebrate:

  • Let your grandparents, grandchildren, and other older and younger people in your life know you think they are special.
  • Encourage your friends and family to visit or connect with their grandparents, grandchildren, and grand-friends.
  • Do something grand for grandparents you know who have stepped up to raise their grandchildren.
  • Post your favorite pictures of your grandparents or write about a special memory you’ve shared with them on Twitter or Facebook. Use the hashtag #KYGrandparents or #KYKinshipFamilies in your caption to get the message trending.
  • Check out this Generations’ United publication that highlights inspiring stories of successful grand-families.

Whether you were raised by a grandparent or not, take a few moments to say thanks or remember those grandparents who have been a special part of your life.