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“It Truly Blessed My Soul”: A Grandmother’s Reflection on the Strengthening Families Program

Parenting does not come with an instruction manual. Many times, we have used parenting skills passed down from our parents, only to discover not all of them work.

This was the case for Glenda Bailey, a grandmother raising her 10-year-old grandson. They recently graduated from Thornwell’s Strengthening Families program, a fourteen-week family program on Thornwell’s Clinton, SC campus designed to help families strengthen their bond through education, enrichment, and community.

“I didn’t understand what I was doing wrong,” Bailey said. “When we were growing up our mother worked all the time, and we didn’t get to spend much time with her. When I had my children, my mother raised my children. It was like a chain-reaction of the grandparents raising the child.”

Thanks to the incredible generosity of Thornwell’s devoted support network, Thornwell’s Strengthening Families Program can serve parents and caregivers hoping to improve their parenting skills through tried-and-true solutions to help with problem behaviors, social struggles, and navigating difficult circumstances.

William Choice, a Strengthening Families parent group leader, has helped many parents and guardians find better ways to communicate with their children.

“As a parent we can always see what’s wrong with the kids. We can immediately point out what they don’t do right,” said Choice. “[Often], it’s a reflection of us as parents, they mimic what they see. It’s a learned behavior a lot of the times.” 

The program inspires children to have a voice and helps parents to better understand what their kids are facing in today’s world.

“Kids these days are dealing with so much,” said Choice. “For them to have a voice and have them feel like they can come and talk to you – to think, “it’s okay, I can talk to mom, I can talk to dad” – I love that.” 

While holding back tears of joy, Bailey said the lessons learned, the connections with other families, and the support of program leaders have changed their lives.

“I just enjoyed it so much, so much love and teachers they were so patient, and they were so respectful, and they were so encouraging. It is hard to try and find people to encourage you in life,” she said. “Sometimes you feel all by yourself, not knowing that there are people that love you and they care about you. It truly blessed my soul.”

Thornwell’s spring cycle of Strengthening Families begins March 15th. Sign up today by calling Chelsea Waters at 864-923-4219 or send her an email at

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