Lesia Henderson has a passion for helping others. It’s that passion that lead her to be recognized by a local program.
Henderson, family caregiver support specialist with the Sampson County Department of Aging, received the “Making the Difference” award, given by the Action Pathway’s program ASPIRE.
According to the ASPIRE case managers, this award merits loyal dedication, unwavering commitment, significant contributions and indispensable support of the Aspire mission.
“Helping people is rewarding,” Henderson stated. “It’s nice to know that you have provided assistance and protection to those who are need.”
ASPIRE assists individuals and families attain the skills and knowledge needed to rise above poverty. The goals is to guide individuals with mentorships, training and support.
Henderson has many years of experience working with families, beginning with her career at social services. In 2005, she began working with the Department of Aging and the Family Caregiver Support Program. After a brief absence, she began working in the same role in 2014.
The program, according to Henderson, assists 30 families in Sampson County each year, with things like purchasing school supplies and gifts during the holiday seasons. The program was designed to help grandparents and kinship relatives who are raising their grandchildren and other family members.
“We are able to do so much for these families, including offer words of encouragement and resources that help the families who are in need,” Henderson explained.
Throughout her years working with the families, Henderson says she has seen an increasing number of families living in situations where grandparents are left to raise their grandchildren.
Many of the children who have been placed in the home of a grandparent are there, she pointed out, because the parent(s) may be on drugs, may be abusing the children, the parent(s) may be deceased or simply because the parent(s) no longer wants the children.
“Just like the use of opioids is becoming an epidemic, this is becoming an epidemic,” Henderson said. “There are more and more grandparents raising their grandchildren because the parent is addicted to drugs.”
Henderson says she was honored to receive the award, humbly saying she only did what she knew was right for the families.
“I was so honored to have received this award,” Henderson said. “I just helped when I could with my resources and contacts.”
Working through the Sampson County Department of Aging and the Family Caregiver Support Program as a support specialist, Henderson says she has been able to make many contacts and gladly assisted Raquel Rosario and Erica Powell with coordinating services for grandparents raising grandchildren that were a part of the Aspire Program.
The department will be offering a Family Caregiver Support Program group meeting Sept. 12 at 2 p.m. in Dementia Education and Alzheimer’s Support. On Sept. 18 at 12:30 p.m., the Grandparents Support Group meeting will be held at the Garland Senior Center and again on Sept. 20 at 10:30 a.m. at the department’s offices off Rowan Road.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.