What is your GOOD IDEA?:
To create a vibrant online community of support, resources, social connection for grandparents raising their grandchildren. These families are called, Grand Families.
The community we are creating is called: Grand Family Today, which we just launched this summer.
How would your idea make you COME ALIVE?
Our greatest strength is our “Team Us” approach. Paul and I (Cathy) are currently raising our 3-year-old grandson. I am a passionate humanitarian who currently leads a local chapter of a national non-profit and Paul is a gifted Web designer and social media marketer.
When we first began raising our grandson we felt like we fell into a vacuum. We were struggling to find resources, information, and where we now fit socially. Our social circle contained friends who were “empty nesters” or soon to be. Instead of continuing to feel lost, we rose to action. We are solution finders. We decided to create an online community for others, just like us! I am a knowledge seeker and researcher. Paul is a creative visual thinker. Our solution, create Grand Family Today a place for Grand Families like us.
How will your IDEA impact our community?:
Currently, according to AARP and Child Trends, there are more grandparents raising grandchildren than ever before in the United States. We believe this trend exists right here in Northern Michigan. Living in a rural area can make it more difficult for grandparents to find social connections with other Grand Families and find resources. Our site is a national site, but we are personally hopeful to make connections throughout Northern Michigan.
Additionally, my (Cathy) background is in creating curriculums to help foster parents, professional caregivers, and child welfare professionals understand the impacts of trauma and what can be done to mitigate those impacts. The site will include an online classroom and classes.
What stage is your idea in RIGHT NOW?:
We have the Website, grandfamilytoday.org up and running which includes the option to become a free member and have access to a members-only forum and Facebook community, we have investigated which e-learning platform is best to support online classes. (I taught online for a college in Indiana as a faculty member in the bachelor degree program for 9 years), we have created a Facebook page and the members-only private Facebook group.
We also have a Youtube channel, Twitter, Instagram and hope to have a Pinterest page. We are also considering affiliate marketing to help support our efforts.
How can we (the audience) get involved or support?:
Spread the word about Grand Family Today.
Also, Reach out to grand families you may know. We are a silent and isolate the group. We are busy raising another generation, but we miss being invited to join in socially. We may also lack the physical resources needed for our new family, like cribs, kids clothing, toys, and more! Some grand families are formal arrangements through Court or Child Protective Services and others are informal. We are a growing group right here in Northern Michigan!
Will $500 make a significant impact on what you need to make this happen?:
Yes, absolutely! Currently, we raise our grandson without any financial support, so our personal budget is tight. We have been limited in promoting Grand Family Today to what we can do personally on our social media. Facebook ads will help us reach beyond our personal social media circles. Also, we think it is important to offer courses where participants can see us and interact with us in a Webinar. We would also record Webinars for those who cannot attend live.
How would you USE the $500?:
Currently, our 2 biggest challenges are to secure a healthy following on social media to increase our membership and design/launch online courses. We would use the $500 as follows:
$300 for a 6-month subscription on Thinkrific to develop online courses (we currently have the free version, but want the courses to be interactive with Webinar capability)
$200 for Facebook ads