NC Parents and What They Work For: Sherry Franklin, A Giving Grandparent and Lover of Community

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Every month, throughout 2022, our Marketing Communications Leader is connecting with parents of young children at our partner organizations to lift up the insights of these hard-working parents and the work of our amazing partners. 

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  • Name: Sherry Franklin 
  • Pronouns: she/her
  • Location of NC: Goldsboro, NC
  • Education: Goldsboro High School; East Carolina University 
  • Year when they became a parent and grandparent: I was 19 when I became a first-time parent and 47 as a first-time grandparent. 
  • Organizations they’re involved in: Board Member with NCECF, volunteering with family support organizations, senior support volunteer 
  • When she got started in being involved in your community: is a lifetime Girl Scout, involved in her church and various ministries, Chairs her High School Class Reunions for over the past 30 years, keeps the community connected. Spent a lot of time traveling around for her work, so now being retired she’s been able to reconnect those roots to her family and really living in Goldsboro, but not working anywhere. 
  • Who she parents and grandparents: two grown sons, two adult stepdaughters, and seven grandchildren – ages 3, 5, 8, 8, 12, 14, and 14 – that she is pretty involved with. 

8 Questions with Sherry: 

  1. Lindsay: How and when did you get involved with the NCECF Board?
    Sherry: In 2019, I was recruited by a board member who was a former colleague. He knew my work experiences at the state, local and national levels supporting programs and states to promote systems change in early intervention and early childhood special education.

  2. Lindsay: Why is supporting early childhood important to you?
    Sherry: A child’s early years lay the foundation for a lifetime of learning. Not only in just learning; but gaining social skills, language, etc. All of this information in the early years forms who we are! I have personally witnessed the benefits of early childhood programs through hundreds of young children over the past 30 years for myself!

    Sherry with her twin grandsons. Photo: Sherry Franklin
  3. Lindsay: You have seven grandchildren! What has shifted in your perspective since becoming a grandparent?
    Sherry: I think one of the things that I have had to understand, realize, and appreciate is that being a grandparent is not the same as being a parent. Although, there is an unconditional love for my grandchildren that is the same as though they are my children.

    I have learned how to be a support system to our children and a listening ear when they face life and parenting challenges. When your children have children, your relationship with them now has a new dynamic. It’s enormously, abundantly a wonderful experience because, not being the parent, you have the opportunity to have a unique connection that can still foster your grandchild’s growth and development and engage them in a variety of life experiences. And yes, we are the grandparents screaming and cheering on our grandchildren at sport events, graduations, plays, etc.

    Sherry and her family. Photo: Sherry Franklin

    We try to create lifetime memories with them so that they will remember their families’ traditions and history. I also think about the future and their future more than ever. I pay more attention to systems and what impact they might have on our grandchildren’s future. This leads me to support some efforts, while advocating against others.

  4. Lindsay: What gives you hope and what worries you, as a grandparent?
    Sherry: When I think about myself, particularly being a person of color, I grew up in the 60’s with segregation and subsequently integration. I never wanted my children to experience all that comes with racism, but by raising two Black sons on my own, there were lots of challenges in their lives that I never thought would happen that would be related to race. I do have some hope as I watch my grandchildren have more opportunities and experiences.

    I see more young people of many races and backgrounds advocating for equal rights for all. I’m just hoping that when I’m gone, they will be equal in all sense of the word, to anyone else in the world. I really want them to live in a world where all people are treated equally.

    As John Lewis said, “it’s ok for my grands to get in ‘good trouble’ for this cause.”

  5. Lindsay: You’re now retired from a career, but you’re still involved in making a difference! What motivates you to keep feeling and doing your best work, with whatever it is you’re doing?
    Sherry: From being a very young person, I had belief in every person to thrive and be the best person they can be. I had amazing teachers who inspired and encouraged me. My Mother died when I was five so a lot of support from my family and others set the stage for me to believe in goodness. My faith is also important so it’s a part of me that believes we’re here to help our fellow man, help others when they can’t help themselves. It’s intrinsic. I’m proud of that. I get a lot of joy from giving and helping.

  6. Lindsay: You have rich insight into early intervention resources, strategies,and techniques. What kind of policy solutions do you think could uplift families?
    Sherry: In the field of early intervention, I think that Congress should fully fund IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). IDEA has never been fully funded by the federal share that was promised. This could ensure that all infants, toddlers, preschoolers, children and youth and their families are insured to receive the services and supports that they are entitled to. 

  7. Lindsay: Parents have never really gotten the support they actually need and families have really been put through the ringer over the past few years. What do you see is needed to restore families of young children to feeling a sense of stability and balance?
    Sherry: Yes, I do believe that parents of young children have had to experience mass trauma during the COVID epidemic. I also think that COVID exposed weaknesses in our systems that were present pre- COVID.

    There is no “one” thing that can be done to restore families of young children to feel stability/balance. I think the critical areas include an assurance of health care, child care and food security. This coordinated effort needs to happen at all levels (federal, state, local, community).

    We can also think of creative ways to strategically and authentically engage families in solutions, particularly those that are most marginalized. We need to change the narrative about “who’s at the table” when decisions are being made about people who are often not fully represented. 

    Granddaughters. Photo: Sherry Franklin
    Grandsons. Photo: Sherry Franklin

  8. Lindsay: What gives you inspiration for children, families, and the future?
    Sherry: Over the past years, I have met and engaged with so many young people in the field who really “get” the benefits of early childhood. I am encouraged by their energy and their courage to be advocates, use their voices/power to serve as allies for others. I see early childhood on the agenda in many states, local and federal conversations.


With Grandparents Day coming up and summer turning into fall, we appreciate the support of all grandparents through life’s everyday moments, but especially the transitions and periods of growth.