The Sibling Leadership Network (SLN) is excited to announce that we have joined forces with Sibs’ Journey. The focus of Sibs’ Journey is to support young adult siblings of individuals with developmental disabilities and mental illnesses.
As such, Sibs’ Journey has become a new member of the SLN Board of Directors. The Sibs’ Journey team is focusing their efforts on providing programming and services to the young adult members of the network. The primary projects of Sibs’ Journey will be planning conferences for young adult siblings as well as tackling the creation of a speaker’s bureau.
Learn more about Sibs’ Journey and how you can get involved:
A Brief History of Sibs’ Journey
By Claire, Ellie, and Renee
Sibs’ Journey was founded by three college students (Claire, Ellie and Renee) in 2012. Claire was awarded a grant to conduct a 7 week summer road trip to interview sibs across the United States and immediately invited Ellie and Renee to come along for the ride. Claire and Ellie both have siblings on the autism spectrum and Renee is a wonderful sibling supporter. After 7 weeks, our team had interviewed over 80 siblings ranging in age from 4 to 84 in 20 states around the US. Throughout the journey, we blogged about our interviews on our website, www.sibsjourney.org.
Following the road trip, we felt that we wanted to channel our efforts specifically towards the young adult sib population. This was a result of our interviews which showed that this population generally had access to fewer sibling support resources as well as the fact that we are young adults and can therefore potentially have a better insight into this group’s needs.
We hosted a conference in June of 2014 in Boston that catered specifically to the needs of young adult sibs. Medical and legal professionals spoke about sibling research and special needs trust fund options. We also asked leading directors of disability advocacy networks, including The Arc, the Sibling Leadership Network, and the Massachusetts SLN chapter, to speak on policy and advocacy work among siblings.
We brought together 25 siblings from all across the country, and over the course of three days, created a community of siblings that now have the resources and tools to support their siblings later in life as well as have an incredible support system of other sibs.
After the conference, we realized that we and the sibling community would be best served if we joined forces with the Sibling Leadership Network to build a stronger community of sibs nationwide. Here are our goals:
- Plan conferences for young adult siblings
- Create a speaker’s bureau of siblings that would be willing to attend other conferences or meetings and share their sibling experience as a way of increasing awareness of sibling issues as well as a form of advocacy for better services and policies.
We would love as much help as possible with both of these goals. We have created a workgroup within the SLN’s Support and Information Committee. If you are interested in helping us, we would love to have you on our workgroup. For more information or if you’re interested, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.