Support Parents are a key support to families of individuals with special needs.
Through our parent-to-parent matching program, we offer parents/caregivers the opportunity to connect one-to-one with a parent/caregiver of an individual with the same or similar disability or special health care need -- someone who has "been there".
What is a Support Parent?
A Support Parent is a parent or primary caregiver of an individual with special needs who wants to help other families in situations similar to those they have faced. A Support Parent is a person who wants to reduce feelings of isolation for other families of individuals with special needs and allow others to benefit from their experiences. A Support Parent provides a safe listening environment and a wealth of information to other families.
Who can be a volunteer Support Parent?
If you are the parent or primary caregiver of an individual with special needs, you can become a Support Parent. We do require that our Support Parents complete our training program.
What do Support Parents do?
A Support Parent provides emotional support and information to families of individuals with special needs. Support Parents connect with other families, either by telephone or by Email, and provide a kind of understanding that no one else can provide. Support Parents participate in "active listening" and provide an opportunity for openness in a nonjudgmental relationship. Support Parents DO NOT provide any form of medical advice or professional counseling.
How long do Support Parents serve?
We do not require our volunteers to serve any particular length of time. We are a network of families of individuals with special needs and because of this each of us, volunteers and staff, have to attend to our family's needs first and foremost. When we contact a volunteer Support Parent about providing support for another family, we first ask them if they are able to provide support at this time. A Support Parent can simply answer "No" and we will not ask any further questions. We can temporarily remove a Support Parent from our active list until they let us know they are again ready to support other parents. Likewise, we will permanently remove any Support Parent from our active files as soon as the parent requests us to do so.