WVSU TV Series Shines Spotlight on Grandfamilies

Contact: Jack Bailey
(304) 766-4109
May 17 2021
West Virginia State University TV Series Shines Spotlight on Grandfamilies
INSTITUTE, W.Va. – A new monthly series airing on the Library Television Network sheds light on the issues faced by West Virginia’s grandfamilies. Healthy Grandfamilies, based on the West Virginia State University (WVSU) program, will feature discussion, education and information for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. 

In the debut episode, WVSU Extension Specialist Bonnie Dunn, who hosts the series and created Healthy Grandfamilies, discusses the origins of the program with fellow creater Dr. Brenda Wamsley, retired professor of social work at WVSU.

“West Virginia ranks second in the nation for the number of grandparents providing primary care to their grandchildren,” Dunn said. “With the show, we will be able to provide information and resources to even more grandfamilies throughout the state and help them adjust to being parents to 21st century children.”

WVSU Extension Service and WVSU’s Department of Social Work launched Healthy Grandfamilies in 2016 when

Dunn and fellow organizers noticed an uptick in the number of West Virginia grandparents raising their grandchildren. A five-county pilot program soon expanded statewide, with program cohorts currently happening in all 55 counties of the state. WVSU has also established a Center for Grandfamilies on campus.

The traditional Healthy Grandfamilies program consists of a series of discussion sessions on topics like navigating the school and legal systems, social media, health literacy and self-care, 21st century parenting and more. Sessions are supplemented with social work services. 

Dunn sees the television series as a natural expansion of the in-person program, and a way to raise awareness about the prevalence of grandfamilies to a wider audience. 

“When we first began planning the pilot project, West Virginia ranked fourth nationally,” she said. “We’ve since risen to second, so to be able to use the television medium to reach more grandparents, as well as decision makers, in our region is only going to help us strengthen the support we’re able to provide to our grandfamilies.”

The series airs on the Library Television Network Fridays at 11 a.m., 5 p.m. and 11 p.m., and on Saturdays at 5 a.m. and 11 p.m. Episodes are also available digitally. New episodes debut monthly.

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West Virginia State University is a public, land grant, historically black university, which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multigenerational institution, located in Institute, W.Va. As a “living laboratory of human relations,” the university is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research.
Reasonable accommodations will be made to provide this content into reasonable alternate accessible formats upon request. Please contact the WVSU Extension Service office at (304) 204-4305 or extension@wvstateu.edu.
West Virginia State University Research & Development Corporation is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution that does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or veteran status in any of its programs or activities. 
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