BUSINESS / ORGANIZATION:
Special Needs SiblingsLilburn, Georgia
ABOUT THE BUSINESS / ORGANIZATION:Special Needs Siblings, Inc.’s mission is to empower and embrace the parents and siblings within special needs families by providing education, resources and support programs.
Special Needs Siblings, Inc. assists individuals by providing information regarding resources available to them. We provide a place of community by bringing awareness to the families and by bridging the gap between the atypical and typical siblings.
Youth Programs: Special Needs Siblings, Inc. expands their vision & ownership of their future by offering opportunities for youth engagement, collaboration, training, exposure, business modeling, entrepreneurship, servant-leadership development, enhancing their mindset of leadership & encouraging better relationships with parents. We serve as a resource for youth to achieve knowledge & access to resources for higher education.
Parenting Resources: Special Needs Siblings, Inc. equips & supports parents with special needs siblings. They provide information and share resources available, and build a network to engage and share information with the local community. We also train parents how to effectively advocate on behalf of their children within the disabled families.
THE STORY:Special Needs Siblings began with my children. I am the special needs mother of five beautiful souls. My eldest son has autism and epilepsy. This began as a simple grassroots movement of the siblings. I felt like I needed to do more for them... but I did not know where to begin. I wanted to connect with other siblings and ask them about the experience of being a special needs sibling, but I discovered a lack of community and assistance for the siblings in these families. Many disabled families had multiple children, but the resources for the special needs siblings were scarce to none. I started a simple Instagram account and Facebook page and using the hashtag #SpecialNeedsSiblings, I asked parents to share their experiences. I asked parents and siblings to celebrate the siblings of the family, who at times were more like silent partners. I challenged parents to look into the mirror and ask tough questions while encouraging them to forgive themselves and start fresh! I truly wish I had begun earlier, but better late than never!
Now, I wish I could say motherhood has always been such a joy and I live everyday to the fullest with my crew. But then I would lying...I would be hiding behind a mask. What mask would that be, you ask? The plastered smile. The infamous, “everything is fine!” The “stay strong because you cannot afford to look weak.” Those vulnerable moments you hope no one sees, but creep their way into your head and heart. No! No! No! It is time to break down that wall and open the dialogue about postpartum depression, anxiety over fears, pasts failures, and missed connections. I cannot speak for every mother, but I can share my story… and perhaps in doing so give another mother the courage to live her truth unapologetically.
We became a nonprofit in Georgia this year, and are extremely proud of that step. Our desire is to open a center where we can connect and educate families on the important role of the special needs sibling. Siblings are there through the appointments, the tears, the joys, and often become the caregivers after their parents have passed. It is imperative to give siblings the opportunity to be themselves and acknowledge them, even in the business of our everyday lives.
We have grown from zero followers to 20K in two years with connections around the world. Special Needs Siblings transcends every group, every nationality, every class, every race... siblings are the unsung heroes.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS / ACCOLADES / AWARDS:Although we are still being established, we are proud to be an official nonprofit in Georgia as of 2018! We are also very grateful to be growing at a consistent rate. Our social media presence is strong and our desire to plant a home base in Georgia is our next step!
CHILDHOOD YEARS:I am told I talked to myself a lot growing up! I still tend to do that, but now I try and open the dialogue to others.
I am a Georgia native...Gwinnett grown and I still reside there now. I played soccer for almost 10 years and I still love to watch the game!
LOOKING BACK:I would tell myself that just because you dreams changed does not mean you quit.. it only means you have grown. Change is to be welcomed and embraced. Dreams are not concrete -- they are clay. They are to be molded and sculpted into your own masterpiece.
CONTACT INFORMATION:3050 Five Forks Trickum Rd
Suite D 462
Lilburn, GA 30047