Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Mon, September 3 2012 at 3:39 PM, Updated: Mon, September 3 2012 at 3:52 PM
One of the toughest jobs that's often forgotten on Labor Day is raising a child...
And that job can be even tougher for grandparents who find themselves parenting.
But there is a support group aimed at helping those 'senior' parents...
Eight year old Jacob Diaz and his brother Zeke are being raised by their grandmother, Nicky Diaz.
"She's my grandma and mom, because my mom, she doesn't live here, and I'm not supposed to be with her, or my dad."
Nicky Diaz has now raised nine grand-kids.
Klamath Falls 'Grandparents as Parents' director Lloyd King notes that Diaz isn't alone...
"There's over 600 grandparents in Klamath County raising these grand-kids today."
Those grandparents are getting some help through the 'Grandparents as Parents' support group.
"I would go in there, overwhelmed, and ready to scream bloody murder." Remembers Nicky Diaz. "And I would go in there, and there was always somebody worse off than me."
"I found that I wasn't a lone ranger." Adds Lloyd King. "And that there was other people going through the same situation."
Diaz notes that the group also provides grandparents with access to parenting resources...
"The fact that there's different programs out there that I didn't know about, or how to deal with the situation in the system."
You'll find 'Grandparents as Parents' under 'support groups' in many yellow pages, as well as the white pages.
Nicky Diaz wishes she would have called sooner...
"You're going to realize that it's like a lot of stuff goes off of your shoulders."
And Jacob Diaz is glad that his grandma called...
"I actually like it at first, because she actually take cared of me."
According to census figures, there are about 38,000 kids being raised by their grandparents in Oregon.
That figure jumps to about four and a half million kids nationwide.
For more information:
Grandparents as Parents
P.O. Box 7455
Klamath Falls, Oregon 97602
Or, call toll-free: 1-877-215-4576
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.
Lyle's job history is quite colorful. He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.
Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience. "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".
When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.