When I started my business Soul To Soul Yoga, I knew that I wanted to offer a support group of some sort for siblings. I was planning on just coming up with my own curriculum and activities. My thought was just run it like summer camp for a half a day. In my search to see if there was anything out there for myself, I found the Sibling Support Project in Seattle, Washington. Don Meyer (now retired) responded quickly and directed me to an adult support group for the state. I had no idea who this man was and came to learn he started this movement to help the brothers and sisters of children with disabilities.
In the mist of chaos that my life was in 2019, I saw one sponsored post for the Sibling Leadership Network Conference. It was a sponsored ad that came across my feed one time. I showed it to my husband and he said go. I was supposed to be in Reno for Yoga for Scleroderma but everyone understood. I went to Saint Paul on the way to Reno, Nevada. I walked into a room with 120+ other siblings. No story was too crazy. The keynote speaker was none other than Don Meyer.
There I learned there was this thing called a SibShop. Don had already created a curriculum and there was even a research study. I left the conference and signed my husband and I up for the training in Midland Texas because that was on the way to Rochester NY. We took the training and immediately went to Rochester so I could do last minute planning to move my father and go to my brother’s support plan meeting. There were so many detours that year.
We all know what ended up happening with 2020. I really didn’t want to do these virtual. I also could not seem to get any of my community partners on board to help start this up. Again I waited. Then in 2021, I was able to move into my own office that could hold 12 or so children. The first one I did for free. Just a pilot to see if there was any interest and most were siblings I knew from my own caseload or community partners. It was a huge hit to say the least.
I had this idea of who would end up friending who and that is not what happened. The 2 sibs with the most medically complex brother/sister ended up hitting it off and now are the ones asking their parents if they are coming to the next one.
So why would you send your child to a SibShop?
I know I would have given anything to have a friend that understood as a child. I won’t go into the horrible stories of teenage years in this post but I do think it would have helped with the feelings of isolation. Most people I went to school with thought I was an only child. When asked what I was doing on the weekends, most of the time I would have to say I was busy with a family thing. I never said my brother is coming home this weekend from his group home and my father needs to me there to help keep an eye on him.
If you are in the Sarasota/Bradenton area, the next SibShop I am hosting is on December 18, 2021 from 1-4 pm. To register, you can use this link https://www.schedulicity.com/scheduling/STSX9BY or just give Soul To Soul Yoga a call at 941-702-2035.