On Love: In Your Career in Aging, What Love Did You Witness that Inspired You?

Sponsored by ASA’s Legacy Corps, we are running a series of stories from the ASA Storytelling Project, which invites you to reflect on your personal and professional lives, especially as they intersected with aging and ASA, by writing stories. We encourage all ASA members to submit their stories of 250–1,000 words, with a 25–50-word bio, to ASAstorytellingproject@gmail.com.

I started my career working in child welfare—within foster care. I hated it, so eventually I went to work in prevention. It was there I started recruiting volunteers to work with the families. I quickly realized that whenever I placed an older adult volunteer with a family it worked out more smoothly than if I had placed a younger volunteer.

One of my friends went to work with an agency which received funds to start a program for Grandparent caregivers. He asked me to come on board to run the program. Later he told me that one of the reasons he had asked me to run the program was because I was the only colleague he knew in the child welfare field who enjoyed working with older adults.

I loved the program and I loved helping the grandparent caregivers. I was inspired by the love I witnessed the grandparents give to their grandchildren. The huge sacrifices they made to care for those grandchildren when they were ready to relax and enjoy their retirement years.

It also was a great reminder to me that my grandmother had shown the same love and made the same sacrifice when she stepped up to help my father raise me and my siblings.

There is a special connection and no other love like the love between a grandparent and grandchild.

The program grew and a few years later I was asked to come on board to work for the NYC Department for the Aging, running their Grandparent Resource Center (GRC). Years later I went on to work for the Brookdale Foundation’s Relative as Parents Program (RAPP). During that time of serving grandparent caregivers, I was inspired to write a poem to them, thanking them for the love they gave to the grandchildren who needed them.

A Tribute to Grandparents Raising Their Grandchildren


Thank You


We take this time to celebrate you for all you’ve done,

For caring for your granddaughter and your grandson

You took on this awesome task that no one else could do,

Because no one loves and cares for your grandchild quite like you.


You had the courage to start all over again,

Raising your grandchildren at an age when

You thought you might retire, travel and rest,

But the children needed caregivers, and they needed the best.


Some came to you in pampers and most in tears,

Needing nurturing and someone who cares.

Others came as toddlers, exploring the world on the run,

You couldn’t believe this happened—after all, you thought you were done.


Still others came at school age, when they needed guidance and direction,

Science may have you baffled but you are great at giving affection.

And some of you have teenagers, oh my, what can I say?

Just keep reminding yourself that they won’t stay this way.


We know it hasn’t been easy—it’s often quite a heavy load,

And there have been many bumps in the road.

You’ve been misunderstood, labeled and denied the services you need,

Often criticized and not recognized for your labor or good deeds.


But we honor you who have done so much,

To change the lives of children with your special touch

We thank you grandparents: we thank you once, we thank you twice,

And know you are appreciated for the rest of your life. 

Thank you, grandparents.

© Rolanda Pyle

Rolanda Pyle, LCSW, is a community outreach worker at Caregiver Support, Alzheimer’s Services with Sunnyside Community Services in New York City.

Photo caption: Rolanda Pyle (foreground) with grandparent caregivers at a book signing for Pyle’s book, "Grandma’s Hands" (Authorhouse, 2018).

Photo credit: Courtesy Rolanda Pyle.