Program Details

This program is 8-months, running from March 2023 until November 2023. During this time mentoring matches will aim to connect six to eight times by phone or through virtual technology. You will be supported throughout the 8-months by a Program Lead to help you get the most out of the program.

There's a shift underway....

People with disabilities are outliving their parents more than ever before. As a result, more siblings are transitioning into caregiving roles. Within the caregiving role, there can be many complex avenues to navigate including housing, health care, finances, relationships and employment. Learning how to navigate within these systems, work with organizations and manage family dynamics can understandably feel overwhelming and isolating.

There's good news:

You’re in the right place!

Peer Mentoring can help you learn and become more confident in your role as a caregiver, as well as inspire positive change and personal self-discovery. You’ll be able to share your lived experiences, gather resources, and explore goal-setting in a structured and intentional way. Most importantly, you’ll have the unique opportunity to connect with another sibling with whom you can relate to and share openly with.

“I appreciated the fact that I felt understood and validated. I also felt less alone in my struggles and I was inspired by many ideas shared.” - Mentee

“I feel like I have already gained many valuable insights and perspectives from just two meetings…I’m so grateful for this program!" - Mentee

Interested in becoming a mentor?

We offer free training for individuals who are committed to sharing their experience, time and energy to support another sibling. The training takes place over 6 weeks, starting February 2023. It takes approximately 8 hours to complete and is a combination of self-directed online learning and three zoom sessions where you’ll put into practice what you’ve learned.

“I enjoyed being able to meet the other potential mentor in the Zoom sessions. I look forward to getting the summaries of the modules. Thanks for this opportunity.” - Mentor

“I expected to be a bit bored, but I wasn't! The skills discussed were practical ones, as were the scenarios we worked with.” - Mentor

FAQ

  • Who should join this program?

    Adult siblings who have a brother or sister with a disability. We also welcome siblings-in-law, cousins, and other second-generation caregivers.

  • Should I apply to be a mentee?

    Mentees of all ages and experience levels are looking for support from mentors. Mentees may want to discuss complex decisions surrounding things like school and work. Or they may be experiencing a significant change in life that now requires a change in their level of involvement in their sibling’s care and/or to do additional future planning. Finally, some mentees join the program with less specific goals in mind, but rather they simply want to feel connected to others with whom they can relate in order to reduce their sense of isolation.

  • Should I apply to be a mentor?

    Mentors join the program and volunteer their time for a variety of reasons and bring a diverse skills set. They are often siblings who have gone through challenges and life changes in regards to their sibling and are particularly inspired and motivated to share their experience and what they learned with others. Being a mentor can also be mutually beneficial, as peer-to-peer support can often provide reciprocal benefits including self-reflection.

  • What can I expect from taking this program?

    Peer-to-peer mentoring can provide a wide variety of benefits for siblings and is a valuable complement to other avenues of support offered by organizations and professional agencies. Mentees in past programs have report reported an increase or significant increase in their level of awareness of these specific topics; - Creating a home for their sibling, - Working with natural supports for their sibling and building a support network, - Understanding behavioural and emotional challenges of their sibling, - Finding and maintaining employment for their sibling, - Ensuring meaningful contributions for their sibling (valued roles), - Finding mental and emotional support for themselves and their sibling.

  • What is the role of a mentor?

    There are five specific roles that a mentor plays. Sometimes a peer mentor spends more time in one role than in the others; it all depends on what kind of support the mentee is seeking. These roles include; - Support - A peer mentor listens attentively, provides encouragement, and builds a trusting relationship. - Learn - A peer mentor asks questions to help the mentee gain clarity on the situation, helps identify their unique strengths or empower them to take action. - Share - A peer mentor shares their own lived experience and gives real life examples. Sharing stories of balancing care with self-care, ways of coping, learning from situations and asking for help can be a great support. - Inform - A peer mentor can share experience and guidance towards reliable information about developmental services or other issues of housing, employment, agency support and health services. - Plan - After listening to a mentee and helping identify their strengths a peer mentor may support a mentee to set goals and make plans.

  • What is the role of the mentee?

    Although the mentor will take the lead, the mentee plays a very important and active role in the overall outcomes of the mentorship. It is the responsibility of the mentee to identify and share with the mentor the topics and issues that are important to them. Their needs will help direct the conversations and any subsequent goal-setting or planning. Their goals and plans may be specifically related to the ways they support their sibling or they may be more personal in nature such as developing healthy boundaries to maintain a sense of self or creating more time to improve their personal health and well-being.

  • How long is the program?

    From start to finish the program is 8-months long and you should connect with your match six to eight times. Mentor training is an additional 6-8 weeks before the program starts.

  • Do I need to have a mentor in place already?

    No - mentors and mentees will be matched up based on key criteria that we review during the application process. If you have a mentor in mind that you would like to invite to be part of the program, that’s great! They will just need to complete the free mentor training.

  • How much does this program cost?

    It’s free!