Harriet Redman, WisconSibs Executive Director, appeared on the WBAY Noon Show with Kevin Rompa to discuss WisconSibs programs and the upcoming Celebrate Sisterhood event.
Click to view or download
To listen, go to
(Harriet’s words start at about 5:00)
APPLETON, WI—If you take a close look at Harriet Redman you will realize she is a woman of incredible wisdom and strength. This is first and foremost because she raised a son born in 1992 with a rare chromosomal abnormality that affected Phillip’s ability to walk, speak, and meet many developmental milestones. Harriet and her family, which included older sibling Christiana, were determined that Phillip be an involved and included member of the family and one day, while playing their special version of soccer, Christiana vocalized a very adult thought for a seven year old: “What will happen one day when you and Daddy die?”
It’s a question many siblings of special needs kids will have, but fear to express, and it led to the founding of the non-profit organization WisconSibs (which happened officially in 1998.) Since then, this noteworthy organization has continued to grow, launch or partner in programs, and provide the circle of support that is so vital to the siblings of children diagnosed with conditions. When a child has a mental, medical, genetic or developmental diagnosis, it disrupts the family–their time, budgets, attention, energy, sleep, careers, etc. Siblings, although they love to help, can experience guilt or short-term resentment. With the support of an organization like WisconSibs, which provides help across Wisconsin, siblings learn to develop resiliency, natural leadership skills, and coping strategies. Most importantly, Harriet says, they realize they are not the only ones in this crazy position, and that’s utterly empowering.
WisconSibs provides many different programs that help children ages 6 to 12 to feel supported, talk about their roles, face doubts, and learn what to expect as both siblings grow into adults. One of those programs is Sibshop, an award-winning workshop that was first launched by Don Meyer in Seattle, Washington. They also run summer camp programs, both day and sleepover, where siblings discuss concerns and joys while having fun, engaging in recreation, and getting the respite time that is important to everyone in the family. WisconSibs also engages families in activities that help create awareness or raise funds such as the Sibs are My Peeps contest which recreates family engagement using the marshmallow candies. Recently, they began to test a new program geared to siblings from ages 3 to 5, so they can learn to understand and express what happens in their families.
In her radio show, Harriet is going to talk about these various programs, how and why her organization was founded, and home in on the crucial role that siblings have when someone in the family has an illness or disability. She will also stress how important it is for society and service providers to embrace the needs of the sibling (and not just the client or parents ) We salute her for her brave efforts and look forward to learning all she has to share–including how motivated people can donate to this wonderful non-profit!
Congratulations to our finalists:
and honorable mention from entries by Denmark High School Photography students.
To recognize the care providers, both paid and unpaid, who provide personal cares of all types to people with disabilities, older adults and other family members and friends who require support to remain healthy and living in their homes and communities, we celebrate National Caregiver Day on February 15, 2019 (3rd Friday of February).
Many of the siblings, usually sisters, caring for family members are also employees and often challenged to juggle the needs of their family members with job requirements. Often they must choose to either remain employed or leave to care for their family. Employers are feeling the effects.
Wisconsin employers recently confirmed the impact of caregiving on the Wisconsin workforce in a survey sponsored by the Wisconsin Family and Caregiver Support Alliance (WFACSA). WisconSibs is an active member of WFACSA.
 National Center on Caregiving https://www.caregiver.org/caregiving-across-states-50-state-profiles-2014
February 9, 2019 – 2-4 pm – YMCA, Kimberly
March 3, 2019 – 1:30 – 3:30 pm – Old 45 Archery, Hortonville – note – SPA Sibshop
April 11-13, 2019 – Autism Conference – Kalahari at The Dells
May 2-3, 2019 – Circles of Life Conference Sibshop Form
NEW! – June 20-23, 2019 – Sib Camp for ages 9 plus in TENTS, Door County
July 22-26, 2019 – SibDays of Summer for ages 6-12, Plamann Park
August 8-11, 2019 – Sib Camp for ages 9-11 in YURTS, Door County
August 15-18, 2019 – Sib Camp for ages 12 – 16 in YURTS, Door County
April 12-13, 2019 – Leadership trip – Autism Conference – Kalahari at The Dells
June 13, 2019 – Teen Sib Leadership Day – Beaming, Neenah
July 22-26, 2019 – SibDays of Summer for Teen Sib Leaders, Plamann Park
March 8, 2019 – Vegas Madness – Timber Rattler’s Fox Club, Appleton
October 22, 2019 – Celebrate Sisterhood – Red Lion Hotel, Appleton
February 7, 2019 – Dementia in Persons with IDD, Appleton
February 9, 2019 – WisconSibs Facilitator Training, Appleton
March 9, 2019 – K.I.T.E. Conference, Appleton
March 20, 2019 – Disability Advocacy Day, Madison
April 11-13, 2019 – Autism Conference – Kalahari at The Dells
May 2-3, 2019 – Circles of Life Conference, Stevens Point Sibshop Registration Form
January 10, 2019 – TOP 10 THINGS SIBS WANT YOU TO KNOW,Kaukauna
March 1-31, 2019 – Sibs Are My Peeps photo contest- open to all individuals and groups
April 6, 2019 – Fox Cities KIDZ EXPO – WisconSibs Sibling’s Day Celebration, Appleton
I’m so pleased to be presenting at an upcoming Caregiver Conference hosted by the Waupaca County Caregiver Coalition. The main reason I’m so pleased is that they recognize that one of the many important roles of siblings of people with disabilities is that of a caregiver.
Whether that role is taking their sibling to appointments, to go shopping, acting as their guardian, or being a reliable companion and ready listener, SIBLINGS ARE CAREGIVERS, often at very young ages.
This conference will focus on Resiliency in Caregiving. So regardless who you may be caring for, consider attending.
DISTANCE MAKES THE HEART GROW – How a long-distance caregiver keeps stays close to her sisters
HOLIDAY STRESS – How siblings compare to the general population and tips for dealing with the frenzy.
YOU MIGHT BE A CAREGIVER IF… What would you add?
WHERE-THE-SUN-DON’T-SHINE Green Tomato Soup recipe
Calendar for October, November, December
In preparation for National Caregiver Month (November), WisconSibs, Inc is participating in the Wisconsin Family and Caregiver Support Alliance (WFACSA) You Might Be a Caregiver If… campaign to raise awareness of the needs of caregivers.
Check it out!
For more information, visit https://arcwi.org/wisconsin-family-caregiver-support-alliance
Want to make a meme with your photo and punchline? Follow these instructions.