The Grandmother Pledge


“One day a female Beluga whale was born into captivity. A dozen years later, in the Vancouver Aquarium in Canada, this Beluga whale would give birth to her very own baby Beluga, but the baby Beluga’s health would soon begin to fail. The Mother Beluga did not know what to do. The handlers nor the experts knew what to do. So, out of desperation a Grandmother Beluga whale was brought in; one of the few captive Beluga whales originally born in the wild.  As soon as the Grandmother Beluga was settled into the aquarium, she immediately began to teach the Mother Beluga how to mother. As soon as the Mother Beluga began to mother, the baby Beluga’s health began to improve.”


Inspired by

Dr. Gabor Mate’s

                                                                                    Bioneers'  Plenary Speech 2012

While many of us are keenly aware of the importance of building a resilient community, many times we undervalue our connections to our fellow humans as a significant piece of this resiliency.

Today, grandmothers and grandfathers are an ignored resource that amounts to thousands of years of collective experience and knowledge. At the same time, we have the youth and disenfranchised on the streets with a different set of emerging skills, also being undervalued in society.

This growing gap between the generations and its negative impacts on family and our community's overall wellbeing are all too recognizable.  The Grandmother Pledge is an initiative to encourage grandparents to become active in addressing the social problems of Nevada City.

This is why we are simply asking grandparents to ‘take a stand and sit down.’ There has never been a better time than now to sit down and get to know those around you, and we have even made this process easy for you through The Grandmother Pledge. You can make a stand by simply coming downtown when it's most convenient or you can get more involved by taking advantage of The Grandmother Pledge Workshops and upcoming Scheduling.

If you would like to keep it simple, just take the Pledge, below, and step up when convenient:

THE PLEDGE: I, (Name), pledge to hold the space of grandmother or grandfather in the heart of my community. Any time, for any length of stay, wherever, however, called.

This pledge may be all you need or you may want little more guidance and that is why we have established the first series of values.  These were identified by grandparents from our very first workshop held at Nevada City City Hall, February 2013.

Our intention is not to enter the streets with preconceived notions of what the homeless or disenfranchised need, but rather hold a place as grandparent by fostering the following values:  


Stay non-reactive                                                        

Don't try to fix or cure                                                

Be respectful                                                             

Don't judge                                                                

Set positive boundaries   

The complexity of what we are facing forces us to deal with each person face to face, with a set of values and deep desire to better understand our community's circumstances. As one of our grandmothers pointed out, “think of The Grandmother Pledge as a sort of triage on the streets.” It is a program dedicated to connecting the disconnected. It will take time to figure out how to go about this.

Why triage? Because each individual that we encounter most certainly is not encountering only one crisis, but a whole series of crises.  Malnutrition, drug addiction, depression, anxiety, Lyme Disease, homelessness or on the verge. It is up to each grandparent to get to know a person well enough to know where they may be able to alleviate some of the suffering. Whether this is simply through connecting through conversation or calling in a health care practitioner to address a medical concern. We give you the tools and resources to address the issues, it is your experience and discernment that assists all of us in making timely decisions and connections.

While there is a clear need for non-profits, churches, and governmental agencies to deal with the rising number of disenfranchised and homeless, there are not enough programs, grant writers, funds, or administrators to take on these issues at their core.

Everyday, as we go about our lives, we must beware of our part in ensuring quality of life for everyone.