As a mother of four grown children, Arvella Warren knows from experience how difficult raising children can be at times. She also understands the financial stress that comes with it, so when she read about Debra Aldridge, a 78-year old school cafeteria worker making $7 an hour in Chicago, and raising her two young grandsons whom she had full custody of, her heart went out to this woman.
Unable to get the woman off her mind, Warren began researching other cases where grandmothers were raising their grandchildren and discovered that in most cases these grandmothers were living right at or below the poverty level, with no other means of income or support. In fact, at the time of her research, there were more than 2.7 million grandmothers in America living in poverty while supporting their grandchildren.
After retiring from General Motors after 30 years, Warren knew she wanted to give back to the community in some way, and through her research, she knew she wanted to help these grandmothers whose sacrifices often kept their grandchildren from entering the foster system.
Warren reached out to four friends, also grandmothers, to see if they would be interested in helping her start a foundation. The response was a unanimous yes and in 2016 A Break for Grandmothers (ABFG) was founded.
The women knew that Ms. Aldridge, the Chicago grandmother who was the inspiration behind the foundation, should be the one to kick the program off so they reached out to her, but getting her to respond proved more difficult than they anticipated.