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'90s FAMILY : Linking Grandparents and Grandchildren

October 26, 1994|Compiled from Times staff and news services

Dr. Arthur Kornhaber calls it the "vital connection," the special link between grandparent and grandchild. But in a world where grandparents and grandchildren may live miles and miles apart--and where grandparents may be living lives as full and as demanding as their adult children--maintaining that tie is sometimes complicated.

As founder of the Foundation for Grandparenting (Box 326, Cohasset, Mass. 02025), Kornhaber runs multi-generational summer camps that promote the relationship between grandchildren and grandparents. Campers, he notes, range in age from 3 to 90.

Kornhaber, a psychiatrist, is also the author of a new book on the subject, "Grandparent Power!" (Crown). With 60 million grandparents in this country, the grandparent's role in the family is evolving, Kornhaber points out. Grandparents live longer, more energetic lives, and often are better educated and more financially independent than in past generations. Divorce, day care and geographical separation also are changing the rules of grandparenting, he contends.

"Find your grandparenthood among all your diverse identities," Kornhaber counsels. "Try to give it priority.

"That, after all, is what a long life is for."

Setting the Stage for Better Communities

The Children's Bureau of Southern California's Inglewood office has received a $150,000 grant from the James Irvine Foundation to assist with its "Build Caring Communities" project.

This program focuses on encouraging parents to help other parents living in the same community--in this case, to establish a Family and Community Development Center.

The grant will also promote development of Children's Bureau family support and child abuse prevention strategies.

Giving Preschoolers a Healthy Outlook

The Florida-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation will invest $1.7 million over the next two years to raise immunization levels among preschool children in 25 cities across the country--among them, Long Beach and San Jose.

Although 80% of all vaccinations are required by a child's second birthday, the Knight Foundation points out that national statistics show that between 40% and 60% of 2-year-olds have not received such vaccinations, making them vulnerable to such preventable diseases as measles, mumps and whooping cough.

This immunization project will target specific communities. In San Jose, for example, a poster in English, Spanish, Vietnamese and Cambodian will feature pictures of babies from one of the city's neighborhoods.

Exploring the World of Adoption

Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services in West Los Angeles is offering a two-part Orientation to Adoption for families. The orientation will present an overview of adoption, covering such issues as the emotional impact, various avenues of adoption (open, international, agency and collaborative), and consent and relinquishment. The cost is $75 for couples, $45 for singles.

Vista Del Mar also offers pre- and post-adoption workshops. For more information, call Joan Apt, (310) 836-1222, Ext. 280.

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