Invaluable Support For Siblings

July 25, 2014

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Interchange Outer East hosted a special morning tea for Freemasons this morning, in thanks for their ongoing support of the IOE Sibling Support Program.

Around 15 representatives from Freemasons Monash Gully and from the central Freemason organisation were in attendance, to learn more about this important program they have been generously supporting now for the past five years.

Laura West, who is the hands on leader for all Sibling program activities, gave an interesting presentation on the current state of the program and the positive effects of supporting siblings in general. Her power point presentation began with the quoted words “Sometimes I hate my brother but I always love him”. It continued to explore the implications for future outcomes between those siblings who felt supported and those who felt isolated and unable to share their situation with others. She addressed the rationale behind the way IOE runs its Sibling Programs for the various age groups – the learning through games approach, fostering friendships, giving informal opportunities for conversations and the overall fun environment. As a play therapist, Laura, fully understands the importance of fun and play in resolving challenging situations.

19 year old Cassandra Stanford, a sibling of a sister with a disability, then spoke on her long involvement with IOE’s Sibling Program which has spanned some eleven years. Her emotional account of the effect her involvement with Siblings and the IOE organisation has had on her life, brought a tear to the eye of everyone present. Her younger brother is also now attending Sibs and reaping the same benefits.

Keith Thornton, Chair of Freemason Monash Gully’s Charitable Committee, responded and pledged another $20,000 for the 2014 -2015 financial year. This will take the overall donation by Freemasons to IOE’s Sibling Program to $100,000 for six years. He indicated that, by bringing all the local assemblies on board, they are hoping to be able to substantially increase that amount. He also spoke of nominating IOE as a focus for fundraising, as Freemasons were able to clearly see the positive difference made as a result of their support of the Sibling Program.

Interchange CEO, Fred Brumhead, said “Hearing from Cassie about her family and the positive effect IOE has had on her as the young person she is today, never fails to make me realise how important services that support family members of people with disabilities are. The Freemasons Sibling Support program is a wonderful partnership between Interchange and Freemasons Victoria, that makes a real difference to families in our community. We cannot thank Freemasons enough for their continued generous support and ongoing interest in the Siblings Program.”

by Sandra Leehy

 

 

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