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November 2018
Are you, as we are, totally reliant on your smart phone? Could you get by without it?

Better yet, can you imagine dealing with your children’s needs without using a smart phone or computer? School announcements, health records, medical appointments, shopping for back-to-school bargains – today, it’s all online!

Due to the opioid epidemic and high incarceration rates, more and more older adults are raising their grandchildren in this rapidly changing world. SOWN is there for them.

Will you consider a gift today?

Here’s why: Adrienne, age 72, is raising her grandson David, now a high school junior. David has always done well in school. Last spring, however, SOWN’s social worker received a frantic call from Adrienne. She hadn’t seen David’s report card, because it came by email, and she missed it. She doesn’t really “get” email, nor how to manage it. By the time she tracked down the report card and found out that David was struggling in several subjects, the new semester was well underway. David had a lot of catching up to do, and for the first time, Adrienne had to set boundaries with David around studying. It was difficult, to say the least! With SOWN’s help, Adrienne and David worked through the issues. Slowly, David’s grades improved. You know how challenging it can be to raise a teenager. Imagine raising a teenager at 72! Will you support SOWN’s work with these grandparents by sending a gift today?

Grandparents tell us that they need to understand and monitor their grandchildren’s use of technology. Rochelle, age 74, who is raising 13 year-old Sierra, said,

“She’s supposed to be doing her homework on the computer at the library. But, she comes home in tears! She won’t tell me why. I think it could be cyber-bullying. I’ve heard about that. But, I don’t know where to begin to help. I’m at my wits’ end!”

SOWN’s response?

We developed the iConnect program, which bridges the digital divide for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. You’ll be pleased to know that we obtained partial funding from the Mayor’s Digital Literacy Alliance. iConnect teaches grandparents to use tablets to access information on the Internet and social media and gain confidence in this area.

This is the power of SOWN. We listen to the needs of elders and families and develop innovative solutions. But, we can’t do it without you. Please donate to SOWN today.

We listened to Nadine, too. Nadine is a 69-year-old grandmother who is raising her four-year-old granddaughter and seven-year-old grandson. Nadine’s daughter died from an overdose eight months ago. She recently told her SOWN social worker and group members:

“This is the hardest thing I have ever done. I have thought about giving up. But I know all of you in the room understand what I’m going through. You’re not giving up, and neither am I.”

This past summer, Nadine and the children, Max and Collette, were almost evicted because of financial problems. SOWN staff worked with Nadine to develop a plan and a budget that enabled them to remain in their apartment.

Envision the impact of your gift to SOWN: Two motherless children are tucked in their beds, safe, warm, and loved at Grandmom’s – A beautiful picture, and it’s yours!

We can’t end our letter without sharing our exciting news: We are proud to announce that we have four in college now! SOWN grandchildren are studying at Lincoln University; Penn State, Brandywine; and Community College of Philadelphia. This is a major achievement for young people who deal with the effects of trauma and living on low incomes. We hope you are as proud as we are!        

Shelby, a ten-year-old girl whose grandmother is raising her, said:

“Before I go to sleep, I think about how good it is to be loved, and how much my grandma loves me.”

In this season of giving thanks, we hope that you, like Shelby, have an opportunity to think about how good it is to be loved. We are grateful for your support.

With sincere thanks,


Merle Drake, LCSW Executive Director


Karen J. Hanson, PhD Chair, Board of Directors

P.S. For a fun community project, consider volunteering in SOWN’s digital literacy workshops (you don’t need to be an expert). Click here to learn more.

P.P.S. Adrienne, David, Nadine, Max, Collette, Shelby, and so many others can’t ask you for help themselves. But we can. Please send your gift today.

*Names have been changed to protect clients' privacy.


SOWN: Meeting the needs of diverse adults and their families throughout the Greater Philadelphia area

4100 Main Street, Suite 403 Philadelphia, PA 19127 | T: 215-487-3000 | F: 215-487-3111 |