As a volunteer and one of the founding board members of Sibling Connections I have witnessed the positive impact that our programs have on the lives of the children we serve. Sibling Connections is the only non profit in MA with the mission to reunite siblings who have been separated. In addition to my role as board secretary I also coordinate the Sibling Sunday South East program and for the past 7 years I have volunteered as the nurse at our summer program, Camp to Belong. I have come to learn that the trauma of being removed from their home and separated from each other is profound. Additional trauma occurs when a child is moved from foster home to foster home and school to school which happens frequently. Sibling Connections provides the consistency of safe and joyous opportunities for siblings to make lasting childhood memories that will keep them connected into adulthood. It has been an honor to be part of this amazing organization.
I first became involved with Sibling Connections in 2006 by circumstances of good timing and knowing the right people. Judy Cockerton, responsible for bringing Camp To Belong (CTB) to Massachusetts, asked me to volunteer for the week - I was between jobs and decided to spend the week as a counselor, supporting and mentoring siblings who have been separated when placed in foster care. It was a truly life-changing experience for me and I have been involved in the organization ever since - as a volunteer counselor at Camp To Belong and the Sibling Saturday/Sunday program, as a board member for the organization, and for the last couple of years as a member of the health center staff at camp. There are really no words to describe how how much I love this program and all that it does for the kids in care in Massachusetts. My six years of service is certainly an indication of my dedication to the mission and vision of the organization. All children deserve the opportunity to create wonderful, lasting childhood memories with their siblings, and it my privilege to be a part of something so special. I cannot wait for my 7th season at CTB this August!
My foster daughter's social worker told us about this program. Up until Sibling Sundays, my daughter wasn't able to see her brother regularly. His family had a hard time getting him to the supervised visits. Sibling Connections made arrangements for transportation for them to and from fun activities. They had a great time, being together and doing something fun rather than in an office one a month. I valued the work Sibling Connections was doing and decided to become involved as a volunteer. I assisted with planning activities, providing transportation and being a mentor. I even got my husband involved and he helped with preparing lunches for the events. It is a wonderful feeling to know something you are doing is having such an amazing impact on siblings' lives. I am mostly thrilled to be a part of the solution of siblings having their monthly one hour visits in a state office. Now they can do activities together and really enjoy their time together!
I became involved with Sibling Connections over 2 years ago at the request of a friend. For years he had raved about his experiences with Camp to Belong MA but I had always hesitated to volunteer due to my unease with camping. I came to a point where I felt something was missing in my life and that I was unfulfilled and it was then that my friend actually asked me to volunteer. I decided I would give it a try. I showed up at Camp to Belong MA with limited knowledge of the organization, the program or the foster care system and can honestly say I had one of the best weeks of my life. The joy on the children's faces when getting off the buses and seeing their siblings was heartwarming. Every day I was amazed by the talents, energy, kindness and positive spirit exhibited by these children in light of the less than ideal living situations they deal with day in and day out. This program has a tremendous impact on the children by providing an opportunity for them to connect with their siblings and provide them with positive role models. I have had such a wonderful experience with this organization that I decided to join the Board of Directors earlier this year. This is an amazing organization with amazing programs and volunteers and my hope is that we can continue to grow and reach even more of the nearly 9,000 siblings in MA in foster care.
Review from Guidestar