'Grandmother of the Year' raising seven grandchildren - My9 New Jersey

'Grandmother of the Year' raising seven grandchildren

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It's not uncommon to hear stories about grandparents raising their grandchildren, but what about a single grandparent who is raising not one—but seven?  

Loretta Jenkins is often seen with an armload of grandchildren.  It's her life, and her full-time job.  

Jenkins has 13 grandchildren.  She raised four children as a single parent herself.  As a grownup, one of her daughters battled addiction, and Jenkins found her two grandsons in a rundown house.  

Jenkins moved in with her oldest daughter Nicole, who was diagnosed with lung cancer.  Her dying request was for her mom to take care of her boys.  

Later, Jenkins' daughter in North Carolina needed help with her baby.  Now, the baby girl and her older brother live with Jenkins.  

As you might imagine, Jenkins says seven grandchildren can make days hectic.  Three of those children have special needs, and one has autism.  

Jenkins says she goes to lots of support groups, including Project GRANDD, which is a program for people with disadvantaged or disabled kids.  

Lula Callen of Project GRANDD says after Jenkins started coming, she soon found she was helping the program as much as it was helping her.  So, they declared her Grandmother of the Year.  

Jenkins has advice for parents and grandparents on children.  

"Love them," she says.  Hold on to them.  Kids are very special."  

More info:
Project GRANDD is an outreach program that helps grandparents who are caring for grandchildren with disabilities.  For more information, click here.

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