Grandfamilies Share Stories of COVID-19 Hardships and Hope

This segment was produced by StoryCorps, a non-profit whose mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.

In summer 2020, StoryCorps recorded these conversations as part of a project that focused on helping us understand the unique impacts COVID-19 is having on various types of families, including grandfamilies. It was made possible with support from the Brookdale Foundation Group, Casey Family Programs and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and in partnership with Generations United. The participants are members of Generation United’s GRAND Voices Network.

To find more stories like these visit


As part of this project, Generations United is collecting stories of grandfamilies experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. These stories may be used for advocacy, on our websites, or in the media. If you are interested in sharing your story with Generations United, please complete this form:

Story Anntesha Chesterson and Alison Caliendo
Anntesha Chesterton tells her colleague at Foster Kinship, Alison Caliendo, about the joys and challenges of being a grandfamily caregiver. Foster Kinship helps families with children who can’t live safely with their parents or whose parents have passed away.
Story Cassandra Gentry and Kim Gray
Friends Cassandra Gentry and Karen Gray discuss the challenges they face as grandparents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both have two grandchildren.
Story Tara and Lynn Urvina
Tara Urvina talks to her adoptive mother, Lynn Urvina, who is her biological grandmother, about being a kinship family and the garden she planted during COVID-19. Lynn talks about her motivation to begin work in kinship advocacy.
Story Karen Gillespie and Pat Ozley
Karen Gillespie and Pat Ozley share their stories about adjusting to raising grandchildren during the COVID-19 pandemic. We hear first from Karen.
Story Joe O’Leary and Colleen Pritoni
Joe O'Leary is interviewed by his colleague Colleen Pritoni about how his life changed after the passing away of his son and becoming the caregiver of his grandson. He also discusses his involvement with support groups for grandfamilies.
Story Keith Lowhorne and Irene Clements
Irene Clements interviews her colleague Keith Lowhorne about the learning curve he had raising three grandchildren during COVID-19 and his advice for other grandfamilies.
Story Linda Lewis and Vertina Long
Vertina Long interviews her friend Linda Lewis about her experience raising grandchildren, the support she received from Project GRACE (Grandparents Raising America's Children to Excel), and her experience in the times of COVID-19.
Story Robert and Claudia Brown
Robert and Claudia Brown talk about their experience caring for three grandchildren after the loss of their daughter. Robert and Claudia’s commitment to their family and positive outlook on life have led them to practice gratitude even in the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic.
Story Robyn Wind-Tiger and Tracey Haney
Robyn Wind-Tiger has a conversation with her friend Tracey Haney about the challenges and rewards they have experienced as grandparents, as well the role their culture has played in the upbringing of their family members.
Story Santana Lee and David Easterly
Santana Lee has a conversation with her mentee David Easterly about how COVID-19 affected their community, as well as their experience participating in the Black Lives Matter protests.
Story Sonya Begay and Kayle Eppele
Sonya Anne Begay is interviewed by her granddaughter Kayle Nanah Eppele about how their grandfamily came together and how their lives have been impacted by COVID-19.