October 1, 2003 | By: Laura Skillman

Learning to cope with being a caregiver, dealing with domestic violence or helping your child succeed in school can become stumbling blocks if a person does not know where to turn.

Helping to bridge that gap was the goal of the fall seminar of the Pennyrile Area Homemakers Association. The association received a grant from the state Homemakers association for the program, “Bridging the Gap, Helping Families Help Themselves.”

“We tried to find a range – something that would help younger families and those with older relatives,” said Christine Rivera, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service Family and Consumer Science agent in Caldwell County.

“We focused on some areas we felt needed some attention,” she said.

The seminar included sessions on coping with care giving, helping your child succeed in school, dealing with domestic violence and an introduction to CYFERnet. CYFERnet is the Web site for a national network of land grant university faculty and county Extension educators working to support community-based educational programs for children, youth, parents and families.

“We have about 70 people registered today,” Rivera said. “We have a nice balance of professionals and people from the community.”

Norma Cook of Christian County, seminar planning committee chair, said the program dealt with serious topics that can affect a person’s entire life.

“My husband has Parkinson’s Disease so, from a personal perspective, the caregiver part was important to me,” she said.

Educating the community on issues that affect individuals and families through seminars such as this one is part of the role of Cooperative Extension. 

“UK Extension is committed to helping change lives, to helping families become stronger and helping families help themselves,” said Karen Ramage, a district director for the UK Extension Service. “We do this by bringing programs to the district and to the counties and we are committed to bringing research-based information to the residents of Kentucky.”

Gwendolyn Hull of Hopkinsville said she was invited to attend the event through her son’s school. “It’s been a wonderful day, I’ve learned a lot about bridging the gap with the family, parents and school,” she said.

Flo Dukes, a Homemaker from Muhlenberg County, attended the session on CYFERnet and Internet resources.  “I was teamed up with someone who knew more about computers and I learned a lot.”

Dukes said she also found the caregiver information valuable.

“I wish I’d had that earlier,” she said. “My brother passed away last November with Alzheimer’s disease.”

As the only sister living nearby, she said it was up to her to keep other family members abreast of her brother’s condition.

“Now I feel better equipped, if anyone else in my family has it.”



Writer: Laura Skillman  270-365-7541 ext. 278