Families Helping Families
Families appreciate getting information and ideas from other families to learn more about school systems, social services, health supports and community participation and inclusion. Families also enjoy connecting with each other at events. Families help one another by:
- sharing stories
- encouraging each another
- building friendships
- providing information
- speaking with government about services and programs and how to make them better
- making connections
- hosting events on topics helpful to people and families living with disability
Windsor-Essex Family Network believes in working with the strengths and gifts within a family and supporting that family to move forward in a way that works best for them. Families supporting a family member with disability find it helps to talk with another family who understands. Families also meet each other at events and share their experiences while networking at breaks. Family leaders present at events so others can learn. They create resources to offer inspiration and/tips at different stages of life. Families develop information about how to navigate the systems.
Family-to-family support through Windsor-Essex Family Network may be provided by volunteer mentors who have a son, daughter, sister, brother or grandchild with different abilities/challenges. Windsor -Essex Family Network tries to link families to a Family Mentor who has been in a similar situation. Family Mentors can share what has worked for them, offer ideas and information or just listen.
Mentors are interested in helping other families in similar situations; they want to give back knowing how much this type of support meant to them. They receive training and support from Windsor-Essex Family Network. Mentors are matched with a family based on commonality of experiences and the availability of volunteers.
Role of a Family-to-Family Mentor
Family-to-family mentors speak from their own experiences and offer ideas or possibilities. They leave decisions up to the family they are assisting. Family mentors do not give advice.
Mentors know that support, information and access to resources are important when supporting a person living with disability at every stage in life – from early childhood through to adulthood. This is one way that families are strengthened on their journey.