Woman works hard to make better life for grandchildren

For Glenda, this is the season to celebrate the birth of forgiveness and redemption.

She doesn't know where she would be without them.

"It wasn't us, it was God that did it," said Glenda, who said she has been sober for seven years.

She was reborn, she believes, to be the guardian and mentor for her three grandchildren.

Glenda and her husband both have had troubled lives and are working hard to ensure that her daughter's children don't follow the same path.

"We keep them in church," Glenda said. "We involve them in a lot of activities like football and cheerleading, soccer, whatever.

"We work with them a lot."

Daniel, 11, is in the band and plays football; 10-year-old Juwan loves sports; and 9-year-old Juwana is fascinated by art.

Glenda earns $8 an hour as an MHMR evening caretaker.

Her workdays end at midnight.

Her husband is a minister at their Baptist church.

Their church family, Glenda said, is their rock.

One grandchild was having trouble with reading, and the church started a tutoring program.

"Church is a family," Glenda said. "Any time, they're there for us."

Glenda said she works as much overtime as she can.

"The older they get, it's just more expensive," said Glenda, who added that the children's mother will be able to help a little this year.

Since 1912, Goodfellows have collected donations to provide for children like Glenda's grandkids. This year, about 20,000 children got $50 J.C. Penney gift cards. It's just enough for each child to get some winter clothes and perhaps a pair of shoes. Nothing fancy, just something warm.