Rebecca Limoges and Caleb aren’t your traditional family. Limoges is Caleb’s grandmother, but is stepping in as a parent.
"I help mom. We co-parent," Limoges said. "And sometimes there's good days and bad days."
It’s not easy to learn how to parent again, so Limoges joined the Relatives As Parents program, or RAPP, through the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Dutchess County.
It helps support relatives who are caring for children in their family.
What You Need To Know
- According to the 2019 American Community Survey, about 2.5 million grandparents are responsible for raising their grandchildren under the age of 18 nationwide
- The Cornell Cooperative Extension of Dutchess County runs the Relatives as Parents Program (RAPP), which supports relatives who are raising children in their family
- There are about 20 families in the RAPP program
"When you’re a grandparent or an elderly aunt or a great-grandparent and you're caring for a little one, it's sucking the energy out of you," said Limoges. "So it's good to have that support and kind of a refresher course, too, on how do I do that again."
According to the 2019 American Community Survey, about 2.5 million grandparents nationwide are responsible for raising their grandchildren under the age of 18.
The RAPP program helps grandparents like Limoges feel a little less alone. Members of the program meet twice a month via Zoom and exchange ideas, get connected with social services and offer each other support.
"It’s a nice environment. You feel safe and people know exactly what you're going through. And it's nice to hear that coming from other people," said Limoges.
To help make the holiday season a little easier each year, the RAPP program distributes gift cards to families. With funding from the United Way, RAPP distributed $1,000 in gift cards this year to the 20 families enrolled in the program.
Limoges received a HomeGoods gift card in the mail this year.
"Anything is a big help, and it's also like the Grinch, a heart-warmer to know that there's people out there. It doesn’t matter how little or how great. It's all appreciated," said Limoges. "There's a lot of goodness out there and during this season, it's good to remember that life is worth living. And it may look different and you may do it a little different now, but, you know, it's still there."