GrandpGrandparents jpgarents have always played a vitally important role in the lives of American families, and never more so than today.

Grandma and Grandpa provide countless forms of support as younger family members make their way in life, and they are usually happy to do so. Grandparents watch over grandchildren, which can help adult kids hold down jobs and provide a critical boost to family well-being.

Some may take on debt and reduce their own retirement savings to support the young.

An increasing number of grandparents raise their grandchildren in a tough economy and they face the difficult physical, emotional, financial and mental challenges that go along with that.

 AARP Michigan celebrates and reinforces the importance of grandparents each year with its “Why I Love My Grandparents” Essay Contest. The contest is open to all Michigan students ages 6-18.

Deadline for entries is drawing near: August 1.

We have been profoundly touched by students’ award-winning essays written in past years. The youngsters write straight from the heart about a life lesson learned, a memorable fishing trip with Grandpa, or the feelings of warmth, comfort and security in Grandma’s kitchen.

We recall with a lump in our throats the story of a 7-year-old fatherless child in Metro Detroit whose grandfather “helped me learn what it means to be a man.”

We will never forget the Jackson grandmother who cried when she read essays written by her adopted granddaughters about how she and her husband had saved their grandchildren’s’ lives.

And we will forever treasure the essay authored by a once-shy Lansing area teen who credits her grandmother for “bringing me out of my shell and helping to make me the unique, outgoing person I am today.”

We can’t wait to read this year’s entries.

Highlights:

– AARP’s third annual “Why I Love My Grandparents” Essay Contest is open to elementary through high school students ages 6 through 18 and essays can be about one or more grandparents, living or deceased.

– The essays from children 6-10 are limited to 300 words, ages 11-14 are limited to 500 words, and 15-18 limited to 750 words.

– Essays must be submitted by Aug. 1 by email to miaarp@aarp.org or by regular mail to AARP Michigan, Grandparents Day Essay Contest, 309 N. Washington Square, Suite 110, LansingMI48933.

– Grand Prize winner will receive an Apple iPad. Second Prize is a Nook electronic reader and Third Prize is a Kindle Fire e-reader. Medals also will be awarded to the top three places in each of three age categories.

– All entries must include name, address, age, phone number, email address, school and grade.

 

 

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