Last week a constituent of Rochester Senator Joe Robach, Linda James was announced as a 2013 recipient of the New York State Public Service Award by the State of New York, Executive Department, Office of General Services. The award was established as one of the Empire State’s highest honors for community service, and Linda James was chosen for her outstanding contributions to the residents of the Empire State.
Linda James may not be a lawmaker, but you will frequently find this grandmother of five speaking out on behalf of children at the New York State Capitol with Senator Joe Robach in Albany. Her role as a children’s advocate began in 1987, when James found herself in the position of raising her granddaughter who was born weighing just one pound four ounces. Two years later, she began caring for her infant grandson who was born prematurely as well. As the primary caregiver of two babies, James taught herself how to navigate a complicated kinship care system with tireless determination and found her future calling as a grandfamilies advocate. Although her grandchildren are now grown, James still raises her voice for families in her Rochester community. She now runs a support and education group for grandparents raising grandchildren. Many of the members use the advocacy skills James has taught them, visiting Albany to speak out for children’s issues – including the need for high quality pre-k.
Linda James began caring for two of her five grandchildren in 1987. The children are grown now, and James helps others by working at the Family Resource Centers of Crestwood Children’s Center Skip Generation program, where she runs an educational and support group for grandparents raising grandchildren. In 2007, James was named the National Association of Social Workers New York Chapter- Genesee Valley Division’s (NASW)Public Citizen of the Year. She has lived in Rochester for 21 years and grew up in Washington, D.C.