This month we shine a spotlight on the Peer Support Enhancement Training Day for support group leaders that took place on Saturday March 30, 2019. We were delighted that 20 parent support group leaders from all five regions of the province were able to join us for a day of learning, sharing and networking. The participants varied in experience from several years of running groups to just beginning to set up their groups. We had leaders from single parent groups to Kinship groups, from electronic email groups to Facebook groups. All had a great experience.
We had leaders from single parent groups to Kinship groups, from electronic email groups to Facebook groups. All had a great experience.
Pat Convery, Executive Director of the Adoption Council of Ontario, started the day with a presentation on “Openness in Today’s World.” This was well received by those in attendance and was suggested that this would be a great topic for support groups.
Sylvia Gibbons, PACT Parent Liaison, continued the dialogue as we looked at what the research is telling us about support groups, why people join groups, types of groups, communication and the goals, collaboration and leadership qualities.
While we enjoyed our lunch, group leaders had the opportunity to meet and mingle with other support group leaders and enjoy some time sharing and networking on how other groups are formed and operating. This was a wonderful opportunity to begin some collaborations.
The day also included a review of many of the resources located on the Adoption Council of Ontario’s website and other resources that are available. Kathy Soden, manager of the PACT Program presented the work of the Developmental Trauma Action Alliance and also shared some of their resources. Kathy shared a short video titled, “Brains Journey to Resilience” from The Alberta Family Wellness Initiative. Kathy encouraged the leaders to share these resources to group members and use them as discussion items at group meetings.
After a brief brainstorming session on what groups need, we had the pleasure of some self-care. Dianne Mathes, a PACT trainer and private therapist led us in a Soul Collage session. This was a great way to end the day and we all felt renewed and eager to continue to grow our support groups.
It is vital that we are able to connect to support groups in order for us to remove the isolation and to feel validated for the healing parenting that we are doing.
It is vital that we are able to connect to support groups in order for us to remove the isolation and to feel validated for the healing parenting that we are doing. It is so inspiring that there are many committed parents who continue to volunteer their time and energy as they lead groups all across the province. The Adoption Council of Ontario looks forward to keeping connected and are hopeful that we will have the opportunity for further training days.
If you are interested in being a part of an adoptive/kinship/customary care parent support group in your community or are interested in establishing a group, please contact Sylvia Gibbons, PACT Parent Liaison at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author: Sylvia Gibbons, Parent Liaison