A Reflection on 2017 and a Holiday Message from SLN Executive Director Katie Arnold

Dear Sibling Leadership Network,

This has been a year of much change, and while we recognize the feelings of uncertainty among many siblings of people with disabilities, it has also been a year that has brought many of us together. Personally, it has given me the opportunity to reflect on what matters most, and on all of the things for which I’m grateful. I’m grateful for friends and family and the sibling support I receive through the Sibling Leadership Network (SLN).  I’m grateful for the network of people who really “get it.” I’m grateful for people with whom I can share both the joys and struggles of life as a sibling where disability is a natural part of our family experience.

This year the SLN reached an important milestone as we turned ten years old!  We celebrated this exciting anniversary at our national conference this past summer with long-time friends and supporters as well as first time attendees that we welcomed to be part of our sib family.  When the SLN first started, we had a handful of committed siblings and sibling supporters who noticed pockets of support happening for siblings around the country and the need to coordinate the efforts and build awareness of the importance of the sibling experience and perspective.  Over the past ten years, we have accomplished a lot.  We have built a vibrant national organization that provides information and resources to help families of individuals with disabilities navigate the needs of all members across the lifespan, shares research findings related to siblings, and builds a passionate and informed community of advocates for better policies for people with disabilities and their loved ones. This year we developed a Diversity and Social Justice committee that is helping us expand our reach to support the unique needs of all siblings.

The SLN is still young and growing, and while we’ve come far, we have much more work to do.  We are strengthening our voice, building partnerships, and growing our network.  We are supporting siblings of people with disabilities and their families from across the country and around the world.  We now have over 5,500 members, including sibling support chapters in 26 states.  Our vision is that every state will have a chapter of the SLN where siblings can connect with and receive information at the state and local level.  We want to continue to build our capacity to do more and we need your help to make this happen.  As such, during this season of giving, I ask you to donate to the SLN to support the work ahead. Every dollar counts.  I encourage you to think about what you can give and make a meaningful contribution that will help us continue to expand as an organization.  Your support will make a difference in the lives of siblings of people with disabilities and their families. Thank you.

Happy Holidays to you and your families and best wishes for a wonderful new year!

Warmly,

Katie Arnold

Executive Director

Sibling Leadership Network

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