Abilis Launches ‘Sibshops’ for 10- to 14-Year-Old Siblings of Those with Disabilities

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Abilis is launching “Sibshops” for children ages 10-to-14 who are brothers and sisters of someone who has a disability.

Sibshops are high-spirited and fun workshops and events that combine recreation, discussion and information for siblings who endure the good (and sometimes not-so good) parts of having a sibling with a disability.

— an announcement from Abilis

Sibshops provide a safe space for siblings to share their thoughts and feelings while also meeting others in similar circumstances and provides a place to enjoy themselves through different recreation activities and through playing games while also learning about the services their brother(s) or sister(s) receive.

Sibshops will hold monthly meetings or events, beginning on Wednesday, Sept. 30, and running through Dec. 16. The events are from 5 until 6:30 p.m. and will be virtual for the time being.

Registration is $40 per child to participate in the program, the first two meetings are free. To register visit abilis.us/calendar. For questions contact Maddy Schulte at schulte@abilis.us.

Abilis Sibshops 2020

Photo from Abilis

Many siblings of Abilis’ clients participate in Abilis events, such as Walk/Run for Abilis and Carnival for a Cause. Now they have Sibshops – a fun workshop for siblings of those with special needs – run virtually with Abilis.

Sibshops is an international program created by the Sibling Support Project. The Sibshop curriculum is used throughout the United States and Canada and in Japan, New Zealand, Argentina, Iceland, Ireland, England, Italy, and Turkey.

The Abilis Sibshops program will be limited to a group size of 10-to-12 siblings and will be run as a workshop, co-facilitated by Maddy Schulte and Mary Kate (MK) Blum.

Maddy is a case manager, healthy relationships and self-advocacy instructor at Abilis. She is graduating in May from Fordham University with her master’s degree in social work and started at Abilis as an intern in September of 2019 and fell in love with the work they do.

She received her Sibshop facilitator certification in July and couldn’t be more excited to bring Sibshops to Abilis! Mary Kate, otherwise known as MK, is 16-years-old and attends Greenwich Academy. She is passionate about musical theater and the GA Varsity Dance Team.

Abilis Sibshops 2020 group

Photo from Abilis

From a past Sibshops event

Outside of school, MK is a Girl Scout senior and a volunteer at Abilis where she serves as the secretary on the Abilis Youth Board. MK is also close with her family, especially her sister Brinkley who, along with many talents and unique qualities, is challenged with Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD.

MK couldn’t be more excited to bring Sibshops to Abilis where she can help siblings have fun, relax, learn and connect with other peers who just get it.

Registration is limited and spaces will fill up fast, so, normally, it is recommended to register online at abilis.us/calendar. Registration for the Sept. 30 event has passed, but you can contact Maddy Schulte at schulte@abilis.us.

About Abilis

Abilis is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that supports more than 700 individuals with special needs and their families from birth throughout their lives.

Abilis has been a leader in serving the special needs community in Fairfield County in towns including, Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Ridgefield, Stamford, Westport, Weston and Wilton, and has a long-standing reputation for individualized, high quality care.

For more information, visit the Abilis website, or on Facebook, on Twitter, or on Instagram.

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