Opening Hearts has been running Sibshops for a few years now, but then we realized we had a problem. Many of the sibs who were too old for Sibshops still wanted to continue getting together and sharing. Opening Hearts decided to introduce Sibteens to our community.
This program allows teenage (13-17) brothers and sisters of children with special needs to connect with their peers. For some, they are meeting for the first time. For others, they are building on friendships built from our other programs. Either way, Sibteens helps to form and strengthen friendships that can provide a lifetime of support.
There are a handful of Sibteen programs in Canada, but none in the Hamilton and surrounding area. Sibteen sessions are less structured than Sibshops, but they will all have a core theme and/or activity, accompanied with the opportunity for the teens to connect and share. For instance, we held our pilot Sibteen session in May 2017. We started with a visit to an escape room. We didn’t escape, but the teens had a great time working together on a common mission. We then closed the evening with a visit to a nearby pizzeria and with time to hang out, connect and have fun.
2018-2019 Sibteen Schedule
We are still working out dates, times and themes for our 2018-19 Sibteen schedule. We will have the dates sorted out by mid-September.
We ask that you fill in the form to register for this year so that we know how many teens we will have to start with. Also, we will have your email address so we can update you when the schedule is set up.
In 2017-18 we ran every 2 months. Starting in January 2019, we are going to run monthly. The teens expressed interest in meeting monthly – and we think that is a great idea!
Sibteen Registration Form
The Goals Behind Sibteens
(very similar to the Sibshop goals):
- Sibteens will provide brothers and sisters of children with special needs an opportunity to meet other siblings in a relaxed, recreational setting.
- Sibteens will provide brothers and sisters with opportunities to discuss common joys and concerns with other siblings of children with special needs.
- Sibteens will provide siblings with an opportunity to learn how others handle situations commonly experienced by siblings of children with special needs.
- Sibteens will provide siblings with an opportunity to learn more about the implications of their sibling’s special needs.
- Sibteens will provide parents and other professionals with opportunities to learn more about the concerns and opportunities frequently experienced by brothers and sisters of people with special needs.