Last Friday I had the privilege of joining our Sibling Program coordinator, Jenna, on a sibs activity. My first thought was one of sheer horror when I realised that I would be spending the evening with 16 teenagers and mostly boys! After having my own teenagers they are sometimes my least favourite creatures!

Off we went, Jenna with a bus full and me with the few that didn’t fit in Jenna’s bus. It was immediately clear the great relationship that Jenna has developed with these kids.

I could see that Jenna has not only fostered a trusting friendship with these teenagers, but has successfully nurtured relationships between the kids themselves. Sibs from very different ways of life, with different interests have built friendships based on the common experience of having a sibling with a disability.

The night was great, the teens were awesome and Jenna was inspiring.

As a sibling myself, growing up I didn’t know another person that had a brother or sister with a disability, let alone someone my age.

What a wonderful program, giving young people an opportunity to build friendships, resilience, and normalise the ‘crazy’ that sometimes comes having a child with a disability in the home.

These teens were wonderful and it was great to have the reminder at the end of the busy week what IOE means to both them and their families!

by Cathy Handy