Local conference to give ‘grandparenting’ tips for the 21st century

Oct. 5 event will cover relationship-building, financial planing

Posted 10/2/19

After nearly 200 grandparents attended Arvada’s first grand-parenting conference in 2018, Arvada resident Pat Whiteley and her co-planners will bring back the conference for its second year on …

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Local conference to give ‘grandparenting’ tips for the 21st century

Oct. 5 event will cover relationship-building, financial planing

Posted

After nearly 200 grandparents attended Arvada’s first grand-parenting conference in 2018, Arvada resident Pat Whiteley and her co-planners will bring back the conference for its second year on Saturday, Oct. 5. The conference begins at 8:30 a.m. at Faith Bible Chapel, 6250 Wright St.

Years ago, Whiteley attended a national grand-parenting conference in Texas, having developed an interest in helping the grandparent community as a grandparent herself, and through her work as president of the Jeffco Action Center, she said.

Hoping to find a similar conference in Arvada and the Denver area, Whiteley soon realized there wasn’t one — so she took it upon herself to change that. Her goal: to get out the message that grandparents can, and should, have a bigger influence in their grandchildren’s lives.

“It’s a different world these days than it was even 50 years ago,” she said. “A lot of grandparents have said they thought they were doing a good job, and what they’ve found is, there’s a whole lot more they could be doing.”

This year’s conference will include 18 sessions for attendees to choose from and a Q&A segment with event speakers, Whiteley said. The sessions cover a variety of topics, from learning to connect to younger generations to planning for retirement.

The conference aims to provide grandparents with the “new tools” they need to be a positive influence on their family’s lives in the modern age, said keynote speaker Brenda Snailum, professor at Denver Seminary.

“There’s a growing population of grandparents who really need some extra support,” she said. “I love the (conference’s) vision on being intentional grandparents. I really don’t know of any other organizations that have that same vision.”

Additionally, the conference is part of a growing movement for “the recognition for grand-families,” or grandparents raising their grandchildren, said conference speaker Rachel Mahnke. Mahnke will be leading sessions on raising grandchildren and on connecting with family members through art therapy.

She began her work reaching out to grandparents after she and her husband adopted two grandchildren of their own, she said.

“After what we’ve went through, we can hopefully make others’ journey a little easier,” she said.

Registration costs $30, or $50 for a couple, with financial assistance available. Attendees can register online at faith.church/grandparenting, or by calling Faith Bible Chapel at (303) 424-2121. Those raising their grandchildren can request a free childcare spot if necessary.

Whiteley added that, with 18 sessions, the conference is sure to have something for grandparents of any age in any situation.

“Whatever your circumstance, you’ll learn what’s the next little step you can take,” she said, “and you can take back what you learn to your own community.”

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