In Praise of Grandma

Vicki never expected to be raising a grandson. After all, she had raised four children of her own and considered herself done. But when she found out that 5-year-old Chase needed her she moved back to New Jersey from Georgia to give a lending hand. However, she quickly found out that Chase needed her full time as his mother struggled with drug addiction and was no longer able to care for him. Vicki gained custody of Chase but then met up with a new problem: homelessness.

Turning to the Salvation Army, she stayed there for seven months while caring for Chase and working for the East Orange Police Department. Still she was unable to save enough money to pay the security deposit and first month’s rent needed for an apartment. That’s when she was referred to IHN. It wasn’t until Chase walked up to “Miss Brenda” (Social Worker Brenda Myrick), calling her by name that Vicki realized IHN had helped Chase and his mother two years earlier.

Thanks to IHN, Vicki received rental and food assistance and was able to move into a new apartment and provide Chase with the stability he needs. It hasn’t been easy starting over. Vicki struggles with health problems, the emotional toll of her daughter’s addiction, and her worries about Chase. She is barely getting by although she’s employed as a crossing guard. But she is grateful to be there for Chase and admits they have a nice, quiet life together.

Chase is now in first grade and is adjusting well to his new school after a hard transition. Vicki is currently working to get him the help he needs at school to perform at grade level. Given the difficulties he’s experienced, not to mention the 48 days of kindergarten that he missed, it’s not hard to imagine why he struggles with his school work. Vicki believes that with his smarts and good attitude he’ll be just fine. With Grandma Vicki by his side, we believe this to be true.