The Granny Program

Providing one-on-one attention, care, and play to the most vulnerable of children around the world.

Children living in orphanages are often deprived of consistent, nurturing human interaction. Without this attention, children lose one month of linear growth for every three months they spend in institutionalized care.

Spence-Chapin created the Granny Program in 1998 to fix this problem and improve the lives of vulnerable children around the world. The Granny Program brings loving caregivers, or “Grannies,” to help the children they work with overcome significant developmental delays, learn what it is to trust and love, and receive the attention and care they deserve. 

Spence-Chapin is currently running the Granny Program in South Africa, Colombia and now Ghana. The Granny Program is only able to operate and expand through the generosity of our supporters. 

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WHY A GRANNY PROGRAM?

The initial relationship between a child and their primary caregiver strongly predicts a child’s emotional and physical health.

Due to a lack of resources, children living in institutionalized settings are often deprived of individual care.  This lack of human interaction is correlated to risks of lifelong developmental delays and challenges with healthy attachment.

Grannies are trained in child development and trauma-based care. Within just six months of participating in the program, more than 90% of children experience marked improvements in their motor, social, and cognitive development.

HOW HAS IT HELPED?

The Granny Program is a simple, direct, and cost-effective way to forever change the lives of children in institutions around the world with proven results. 

Over 500 children are currently paired with Grannies. The program and its extensions currently benefit children living in orphanages in South Africa and Colombia, and will open in Ghana later this year. 

As the Granny Program has proven to be a scalable, replicable model, Spence-Chapin is working to bring the program to more countries around the world who are seeking the great impact it has on the lives of those it serves.

WHO DOES IT BENEFIT?

Giving a child a trusted adult and attachment figure leads to startling improvements in development and attachment. 

Children who could not sit on their own are soon rolling over and crawling. Little ones who were previously withdrawn emotionally now raise their arms to be picked up when their Grannies arrive for the day.

The Grannies also benefit from the program through the additional financial support they receive to help their families, and the renewed sense of purpose they feel in bonding with the children they serve and giving back to their communities.

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INSTITUTIONAL LIVING ENRICHMENT

To further empower the lives and futures of children living in institutionalized care, Spence-Chapin has created three initiatives that branch off of the Granny Program. These ethical programs work to enrich the journeys of children who are often missing personal identity, valuable resources, and opportunities for the future.

Project Play

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In 2019, Spence-Chapin launched Project Play as a complement to the Granny Program to address the critical role of play in children’s lives. Due to a lack of vital resources, many orphanages around the world are not able to provide an area for children to engage in structured and unstructured play which is crucial in helping children reach developmental milestones. 

Project Play allows Spence-Chapin to build playgrounds at children’s orphanages with state-of-the-art equipment and stations with much-needed play space to engage in sensory, creative, active, and group play. It also supplies birthday and holiday gifts and celebrations for children who so often never receive recognition on these special days. 

 Because of Project Play, brand new playgrounds have finished being built at half of the orphanages where The Granny Program currently operates. 

 

Step Up

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 The Step Up initiative within the Granny Program allocates funding for each child to go shopping and select their own new pair of shoes.

Children in institutionalized care are often recipients of handed-down clothing and shoes that are used and may not reflect their individual sense of style.

By giving them the precious gift of choice and allowing them to hand-pick their own shoes, Step Up increases the children’s confidence and sense of self.

 

THRIVE

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 In 2022, we created THRIVE, a program designed to equip young adults in the program with Technical skills, Higher education goals, Resources for navigating academia and job seeking, Independent living skills, Vocational skills access, and, ultimately, Employment.

Mentors offer one-on-one guidance in academic, educational, and leadership pursuits, preparing mentees not just practically but also mentally and emotionally for their transition to adulthood. 

Further, THRIVE leaders provide connections to universities, internships, and future jobs, and offer stipends for youth actively participating in the program so they can learn the critical skills of independent living and budgeting with their mentors.

 

Granny Program Videos

See the impact of the Granny Program on the lives of those it serves. 

The Granny Program and Project Play in South Africa

The Granny Program and Project Play in COlombia

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