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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU Program Offers Classes for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

LAS CRUCES - Grandparents who find themselves faced with the challenges of raising their grandchildren can find help by attending a free class offered through New Mexico State University's Nurturing Parenting Program.

The 12-week class that began July 29 offers weekly parenting groups, a children's program, parenting support, nutrition information, family activities and a completion certificate. Participants can sign up through the first two weeks of the class.

The classes will focus on topics such as family communication, effective discipline and self-esteem.

"It gives grandparents excellent skills in coping," said class facilitator Trena Pollard, with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service. The classes are part of the Strengthening Families Initiative. Sessions will help grandparents manage households and enjoy parenting.

In addition, participants will learn about other services.

"We try to help them find the resources they need," Pollard said.

Grandparents and children are taught separately, then come together for an activity. Handbooks and nutritious snacks are provided for the 2½-hour classes.

Pollard is collaborating with the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program at DAC Advocates. Jean Garcia, executive director at DAC Advocates, said grandparents sometimes have difficulty dealing with their grandchildren.

"Communication is really key," Garcia said. For example, the grandparents may speak Spanish while the grandchildren are immersed in English at school, complicating communication. Garcia said the class helps grandparents learn positive discipline skills and connects them with professional people and resources.

The classes are free if the grandparents or grandchildren receive or are eligible for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, food stamps or Women, Infants and Children.

Classes run from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays at the Mesilla Park Recreation Center. To sign up, contact Pollard at (505) 646-2671 or Yolanda Borunda at (505) 525-1060.

For more information, or if you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate in the class, please contact Trena Pollard at (505) 646-3560 or tpollard@nmsu.edu before the class begins.