For more than three decades, AHRC New York City has been very active in its support of the siblings of people who have medical, intellectual, or developmental disabilities. Well aware that siblings without disabilities may sometimes feel that their families and their peers do not understand the unique challenges that they face, years ago AHRC New York City began running Sibshops.
Designed primarily for school-age children, these professionally-guided workshops facilitate peer support and education, provided within a lively, recreational context that emphasizes a sibling’s perspective. Reflecting the belief that brothers and sisters have much to offer one another when provided the opportunity, these workshops acknowledge that being the brother or sister of a person with a disability can be difficult, rewarding, and sometimes both. Sibshops are held on weekends throughout the year.
The Sibling Committee of the AHRC Board of Directors has been helpful in championing the cause of siblings over the years. On Monday, March 10, 2014, AHRC New York City staff, Board members, and guests gathered at India House in Lower Manhattan, for the sixth annual celebration. It was a night of networking, prizes, and entertainment. This annual event brings together siblings, their friends, and supporters in a venue where they can meet others who have similar life experiences.
The Perspective of a Sibling
“I’m glad I get to go to SibShops,” said Ian, one of three siblings who was invited to speak to attendees of the event. “SibShops has been very helpful to me because I’ve learned to deal with having a brother with special needs. [While attending SibShops] I was surprised to see so many kids like myself.”
“What that says to me,” Ian added, “is that I’m not alone. There are others just like me. I met my friend, Christopher at the first siblings’ weekend trip, [to Camp Anne] on the bus. We went horseback riding, made s’mores, and went swimming together. We had a great time.”
Ticket proceeds from the event will benefit a weekend of workshops later this Spring at AHRC New York City’s Camp Anne. It will provide the siblings who participate with the opportunity to enjoy fun and safe activities with other siblings in a beautiful country venue, far away from their families!
AHRC New York City thanks all siblings of people with disabilities, for the courage they show as they support their brothers and sisters throughout their lives.
For more information about these services, please contact Annette Spallino, Sibling Services Coordinator, AHRC New York City.