Author: Robyn Maierhofer

A Siblings Program that supports the entire family

Recently, Greater volunteers accompanied the Cerebral Palsy Alliance on their second Siblings Day for 2014 to Minmi's Treetop Adventure Park. The Greater's own Robyn Maierhofer reveals how this ground breaking program is rewarding for everyone involved.

On Tuesday 1st July, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to volunteer my time with the Cerebral Palsy Alliance at their second Siblings Day for the year. The Siblings Day is a brand new program for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, and the first of its kind in the Hunter Region.

Funded by the Greater Charitable Foundation, this program brings together children who have a brother or sister with Cerebral Palsy or another related disability. It is an opportunity for them to meet and socialise with other kids who are going through similar things to them.

So on Tuesday, we headed to the TreeTop Adventure Park at Minmi to have some fun up high in the branches! We started off with some ice breakers and a game that encouraged the young people to think about their strengths.

During these activities everyone realised that they all had many things in common. I noticed that all of the young people were particularly laid back and adaptable in a way that you can only be when you are used to putting someone else’s needs before your own.

It was wonderful to watch these young people (most of them strangers until that morning) support, encourage and help one another tackle the tree top challenges. To have been able to encourage my team to have a go and face their fears was very gratifying for me personally!

The whole day was a very calming and humbling experience for me. The fact that this day was primarily for these young people, for them to have fun and make new friends who can understand some of the strengths and challenges that they are faced with on a day to day basis, was truly fantastic.

Many of the parents commented at the end of the day how beneficial the day was, not just for the young siblings, but for the family unit as a whole.  This is a credit to the Cerebral Palsy Alliance and how they support the entire family.

I am proud that the Greater’s Charitable Foundation funds such a valuable program and that I am able to be involved in watching it change the lives of families within our community!