A summary of the sibling support day held by the Ottawa chapter of the RDF Parent 2 Parent Resource Network in collaboration with Walking in my Shoes (WIMS).
Discussions surrounding how to best support the siblings of children with rare diseases are frequently had at the RDF Parent 2 Parent Resource Network meetings. The Ottawa RDF chapter, in collaboration with Walking in my Shoes (WIMS), held a successful Parent & Sibling Workshop on November 16, 2013, to help address some of these issues.
The event was held at Citizen Advocacy in the west end of the city (they graciously donated their space!). The day began with a BINGO icebreaker allowing everyone to get to know each other. Children were then split up into different age groups to attend self-esteem building workshops led by CHEO Psychologists. They made real family trees with ornaments that symbolized their family members. They also made life-sized tracings of each other, which they had the opportunity to creatively decorate with color and words to represent their strengths, aspirations and things important to them. Meanwhile, the parents attended a seminar about relationship building led by a well-known Psychologist in the Ottawa community.
Following the workshops, everyone enjoyed a pizza lunch from J N Pizza (they cut us a great deal!) while watching the local clown legend Lil John perform. He had everyone laughing hysterically, including the adults! The day closed with a teambuilding event where parents and kids were asked to point out each other’s strengths and share them with the group. The kids were able to take home their crafts to share with the rest of their families.
It was a very positive and powerful day that moved many to tears. We would like to thank the wonderful Algonquin College Early Childhood Education students and Psychologists from CHEO and the Ottawa community for all of their efforts in preparing & running the workshops. We also give thanks to the following generous sponsors for their support in allowing this event to happen.
- Novartis – awarded us a grant to fund the majority of the event
- Citizen Advocacy – donated the space for the workshops
- Second Cup (wetboro location) – donated coffee for the parents & volunteers
- The Ottawa Bagel Shop & Deli – donated bagels for breakfast
- J N Pizza – provided us delicious pizza at a discounted price
- Newborn Screening Ontario – provided us with the craft supplies