WVSU Healthy Grandfamilies Receives Exceptional Local Program Award from Northeast Association of Extension Directors

Contact: Jack Bailey
(304) 766-4109
Sept. 9, 2021
WVSU Healthy Grandfamilies Receives Exceptional Local Program Award from Northeast Association of Extension Directors
INSTITUTE, W.Va. – West Virginia State University’s (WVSU) Healthy Grandfamilies program, which provides information, education and resources to grandparents raising their grandchildren, has received an honorable mention as a 2021 Exceptional Local Program from the Association of Northeast Extension Directors (NEED).

“We believe this program delivers locally focused, impact-driven and responsive work that deserves to be recognized,” NEED Chair Dr. Brian Schilling said in a statement.

“When we began, West Virginia ranked fourth in the nation for grandparent-led households, and we’ve since increased to second, so ensuring that this growing family dynamic has the information and resources needed to thrive is vital,” said WVSU Extension Specialist and Project Co-director Bonnie Dunn. “We work hard to provide assistance to the many grandfamilies in West Virginia, and to be recognized for making an impact in the lives of our participants is truly an honor.”

Healthy Grandfamilies, a collaboration between WVSU Extension Service and the WVSU Department of Social Work, began as a five-county pilot project in 2016, consisting of a series of discussion sessions with grandparents on topics such as 21st century parenting, navigating the school system, social media and more, accompanied by social work services. 

With continued support, including from the West Virginia Legislature, the program has since expanded statewide. Cohorts exist in all 55 counties who operate Healthy Grandfamilies programs at the local level.

“It is so rewarding to receive acknowledgement for the Healthy Grandfamilies program as an Association of Northeast Extension Directors Exceptional Local Program,” said WVSU Department of Social Work Chair and Healthy Grandfamilies Project Co-director Dr. Kerri Steele. “We are proud to have locally focused, community-based programming throughout our state to support grandparents raising grandchildren.”

In August, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced a collaboration with Healthy Grandfamilies to provide vouchers to program participants who receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

As part of the NEED award, Dunn and Steele will receive $500 towards program support or professional development, as well as the opportunity to present at a virtual recognition ceremony this fall. 

To learn more about WVSU Healthy Grandfamilies, visit healthygrandfamilies.com.

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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 multiā€generational 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.
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