Get to know is a new series designed to give you a look into SLN State Chapters; what they do, how they function and what it’s like! To kick it off, we’re starting with the Tennessee chapter, Tennessee Adult Brothers and Sisters (TABS).
Answers provided by Emma Shouse Garton, TABS coordinator and Public Information Specialist at the TN Council on Developmental Disabilities
What’s been your biggest recent success over the past couple years?
In June 2020, Tennessee’s Sibling Leadership Network chapter, TABS, began hosting monthly Zoom gatherings. While many of our gatherings (which are open to siblings of people with disabilities outside of TN as well) have been very small, 3 of our “TABS Chat” topics drew much larger crowds of about 20-25 folks.
These chats were actually focused on pretty serious topics – how trauma and grief can impact our lives as siblings of people with disabilities in different ways over our lifespan. Many attendees said that it was very meaningful and moving to them to have spaces to discuss these kinds of experiences. Several people said they were able to share stories and feelings in these discussions that they have never been able to talk about before. Whether we are hosting guest speakers on important sibling topics or just meeting to share what is going on in our lives, we have found that having regular virtual meetings is a great and pretty easy way to connect to our fellow sibs.
What’s one event or activity you’re most looking forward to this year?
Right now, we have TABS chats planned for May and June, which I am looking forward to. (You can read about those topics and register for the free events here: https://vkc.vumc.org/events/).
Beyond that, we’re planning to book monthly sessions for the rest of 2022 that will include panels of sibling speakers to share their personal stories on various topics. I always appreciate the opportunity to learn from fellow siblings who have gone through life stages I have not yet gone through. We’ll also do some strategic planning about how we want to strengthen TABS as a network, so I am looking forward to setting a vision for the future.
How can people stay in touch with TABS and updated on what you are doing?
The best way right now to stay up to date on TABS events is to follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tabs.siblings. I hope that part of our planning for 2023 might include starting an email newsletter – stay tuned!