✝ NEWS FROM THE DIOCESE
Danny, whose family has nicknamed him “Danny Boy,” has lived with the Mitchells in their comfortable Corpus Christi home since he was three. When asked about the best part of living with his grandparents, he replied, “being with Papo,” the name all of the grandchildren call Joey Mitchell. The boy’s father, one of Margaret Mitchell’s three grown children, was not married to Danny’s mother, and was unable to care for the child. He made the decision for Danny to live with his grandparents, with whom he used to stay on weekends, because he cried for them. “I can’t turn my back on these kids,” said Margaret Mitchell, who had five grandchildren living with her at one point. The Mitchells are not alone in their situation. In Texas, 349,000 or five percent of children under the age of 18 lived with grandparents in 2013, according to figures provided by the Kids Count Data Center. And there are 253,000 children in Texas under 18, or four percent who lived with other relatives besides grandparents in 2013. “Grandparents face financial, health, social challenges, usually because of a traumatic event,” said Felipa Lopez Wilmot, a family caregiver program specialist with the Area Agency on Aging of the Coastal Bend, which serves 12 counties in the area. Wilmot facilitates a support group for grandparents, which meets from 10-11:30 a.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at the Greenwood Senior Center, 4040 Greenwood Drive, in Corpus Christi. Speakers talk about grandparents’ rights, grandparents share coping skills and they learn about resources in the community, said Wilmot, who facilitates the support group.
Danny Puebla serves as an altar boy at Our Lady of the Rosary Church. Father Varghese Kolencheril Ethappiri is giving communion. Contributed Photo
“We are teaching them our
faith. We want to instill moral values in them, because without it, they would be lost.” –Margaret Mitchell “It’s very empowering for them because there are so many barriers they face,” she said. Wilmot said State Rep. Abel Hererro helped change Texas law in 2009 to allow grandparents or other relatives to obtain medical treatment for
10 SOUTH TEXAS CATHOLIC | MARCH 2015
children in their care. The Mitchells are Danny’s legal guardians, which means they can authorize his medical treatment and make decisions about his education, they said. The guardianship does not take away parental rights and is not
The South Texas Catholic is the official publication of the Diocese of Corpus Christi.