Grandparents Love is a heartfelt tribute to the memory of my beloved grandparents, Jim and Marie McDaniel. The unconditional and genuine love that Papa Jim showered upon all his grandkids was a profound testament to his character. One of my most cherished memories with my grandfather was our Wednesday morning breakfasts at Denny in Indio. In his final years, this ritual became a precious treat for both of us, and I only wish I had started it sooner. As for my grandmother, the scent of pancakes in the morning and even the nostalgic aroma of Palmolive Dish soap while she did the dishes brings back a flood of happy memories. I keep a bottle of it close by, and whenever I want to be transported to happier times, I take a whiff and smile.
Papa Jim, a Texan by birth, moved his family to Indio, CA in 1948. While he wore many hats in the community, he is most remembered as a caring on-campus supervisor at Indio High School from 1970 to 1981. With a warm smile and a heart that knew no bounds, Papa Jim encouraged the students in a grandfatherly way to attend classes, do their best, and stay out of trouble. Those fortunate enough to have known my grandfather share stories of how he guided them away from trouble and kept them focused on their education.
My grandmother, Marie McDaniel, or Gramma as we lovingly called her, was the epitome of love and kindness. I never heard a harsh word escape her lips, and she always wore a radiant smile, ensuring that everyone around her was taken care of. Waking up to the aroma of pancakes and bacon and being greeted with a cheerful “Good morning, Dante” (my middle name) made me feel incredibly special. Sitting at the table, drowning fluffy pancakes in syrup, are some of my fondest childhood memories. Active in their church and with a booth at the Date Festival, my grandparents, in my eyes, were the epitome of the best grandparents a child could ever hope for.
After Gramma Marie passed away, Papa Jim found himself thrust back into the role of primary caregiver for his daughters’ children due to unforeseen circumstances. Watching Papa Jim raise my cousins left a lasting impact on me. At the time, I couldn’t comprehend why he was shouldering the responsibility of raising someone else’s kids and struggling to make ends meet. But now, as a grandfather myself, I finally understand the depth of his love. He didn’t do it out of obligation; he did it because he loved each and every one of his grandchildren unconditionally. The sacrifices he made for them will forever remain unknown.
And that’s why I established GPL: Grandparents’ Love. It is dedicated to all the Papa Jims and Gramma Marias out there—those grandparents who go above and beyond for their grandkids. We aim to provide support and assistance to these extraordinary individuals who love their grandchildren more than life itself. Sometimes, they just need a helping hand and the assurance that there are people who genuinely care.
Raising children all over again is an immense undertaking for anyone, particularly when age and health become factors. My cousins were fortunate to have loving grandparents who provided them with a warm and nurturing home. At GPL, we strive to extend that same love and support to grandparents who may find themselves facing similar challenges. Together, we can make a difference in their lives, offering them the helping hand they deserve and reminding them that they are not alone on this incredible journey.
Awards and Recognitions
Grandparents who receive assistance through our program are nominated by either a family member, themselves or a close friend who has witnessed their incredible struggles. These nominees are the epitome of selflessness, demonstrating unwavering love and support for their grandkids, regardless of their own challenging circumstances. They are the grandparents who willingly sacrifice their own health and remaining years to provide care for those in need. They put their lives on hold, embracing the immense responsibility of raising children for a second time. These remarkable individuals have hearts that are as vast as the world and as warm as the desert in August. They have transitioned from putting themselves first to prioritizing others.
The Jim and Marie McDaniel Award, fondly known as the JaMMA Award, is a tribute meant to recognize and honor these exceptional grandparents. It holds immense significance, just like the grandparents who are humbled to receive it.
Learn more about how you can support this award here.
Orisco Sterling Chaisson “Motherdear” Education Assistance Award
Introducing the ORISCO Sterling Chaisson “MotherDear” Education Assistance Award, an esteemed recognition tailored for high school students whose grandparents have been nominated for the prestigious JaMMA award. This coveted award provides a generous education assistance grant of $5000, offering substantial support for the recipients. However, to qualify for this esteemed award, students must fulfill specific criteria.
The awarded sum will be securely deposited into an interest-bearing account and will be accessible to the recipients upon completion of their second year of college. The principal amount of $5000 will be exclusively dedicated to furthering their education at a university, enabling them to pursue their academic aspirations. The accumulated interest, on the other hand, will be entirely at the disposal of the student, allowing them to utilize it as they see fit.
Moreover, should the recipient choose an alternative educational path by opting for a two-year certification program in a trade such as HVAC or plumbing, the award will remain available to support their journey. Upon successful completion of the program and attainment of their certificate, the student will be granted access to the principal funds, empowering them to procure essential tools for their chosen trade or pursue advanced training.
These exceptional awards are bestowed annually at our prestigious Yearly Gala, an event that celebrates and honors the achievements of exceptional individuals. The ORISCO Sterling Chaisson “MotherDear” Education Assistance Award represents a remarkable opportunity for high school students to receive substantial financial aid and pursue their dreams of higher education or specialized vocational training.