Being a parent to young children is challenging at any age, but for seniors unexpectedly thrust back into the role due to family circumstances, it can be overwhelming.
23 years ago, Shearl Lambert and her husband Clifford were facing a second stint as parents when their grandkids were suddenly left without a primary caregiver. "We didn't know what kind of milk they was on," Shearl told ABC 10News. "We didn't know if they had their shots, we didn't know anything about them. They were just left there."
Clifford says it was an incredibly difficult time. "To raise some more kids, after raising eight kids, and do it the second time around...it was tough."
With the help of their church and pastor, the Lamberts made it work, but they didn't stop there. Using the support systems they discovered, they founded the Grandparent's Connection, a non-profit group dedicated to helping seniors who find themselves taking care of young kids again.
The group hosts monthly breakfasts, holiday events, and outings for grandparents and kids, and help connect new families with needed resources. Over 17 years, they've built a supportive community to help make those golden years with children just a little more manageable.
With 36 grandchildren, seven great grandchildren, and one more on the way, the Lamberts still find time to give back. Clifford says the reason is simple. "So (other grandparents) won't have to go through the same stuff that we went through--all the hardship, all the crying--and stuff like that."
For their dedication to the community and the Grandparent's Connection, ABC 10News and LEAD San Diego chose Shearl and Clifford Lambert as our 10News Leadership Award winners for the month of June.