Testimonial From a Family
When we were asked to talk about what we appreciate about SIBSPlace the question we both asked ourselves was, "Wow, where do we start?" SIBSPlace has done so much for our daughter over the past 3 years that it is hard to put it all into words sufficient enough to express our feelings.
However the best place to start would be the beginning.
When Kristina first started going to SIBSPlace she was a very sad little girl. In trying to shield her from all that we were going through with our son William, we inadvertently made her feel alienated from the family and unwanted. We felt that she would be bored and frustrated going from doctors visit to doctors visit, so we had her stay with her grand parents during most of them, and there were a lot-about 9 doctors' appointments a week. Instead, she felt like we didn't want her around, and must not love her enough to take her with us. She was withdrawn, moody, and sad (even for a little girl).
That all changed soon after visiting SIBSPlace. The caring . . . I would have said personnel but that doesn't fit. They are caring people, in the most pure sense of the word, many of whom have been through similar situations. The dedication they show to each child is nothing short of amazing, and their patience is immeasurable. Little by little, session by session they brought Kristina out of the dark place she was in, and showed her even with everything going on, it was okay to have fun and be a kid without having to think about issues that no child should have to deal with.
SIBSPlace gave her the individual attention that she desperately needed, and began to show us how to best manage to do the same even with the 'New Norm' that we all faced on a daily basis. SIBS was a two pronged attack on her depression.
First was outright fun. She has done more with the SIBS family in three years than most children get to do in ten. To name just a few there was The Circus, Mary Poppins on Broadway, Horse back riding, several museum including the Museum of Natural History, the aquarium, Mini-golf, roller skating, ice-skating, not to mention the annual SIBS barbeque. Those are just the places they went outside of SIBS, the places they created inside the walls of SIBS would take more time then we have to explain. But I can tell you there were visits to the north-pole with talking snowmen as well as to Wonder-land to talk to a late rabbit. They danced on roof-tops with broom sticks, battled pirates, became Broadway stars, and held many talent shows. To say that SIBSPlace is a fun place to be would be like calling Disney World a minor theme park.
The second prong on the attack was to help her, as well as all the kids, deal with the feelings that they were having that they could not begin to really understand. They have group sessions where each child would talk about a good thing that happened to them that week or as they term it 'thumbs up', or not so great things, yup you guessed it 'thumbs down.' The people at SIBS make it easy to talk about those things that scare them the most and once they talk about them they aren't that scary anymore. They teach them how to express their feelings with words instead of actions, and to be able to let people know when there is a problem. Even now three years later Kris will leave school aggravated and upset, but by the time she comes home from SIBS, she is smiling once more. Most of all they are there in force during those unfortunate times when reality comes back into play and we are in and out of the Hospital again.
Now this is where I start sounding like a commercial: But wait there's more! They also help the children with their homework, feed them dinner (ever try feeding a large group of kids with different backgrounds dinner?), do arts and crafts, express themselves through music, as well as give them the opportunity to learn to play instruments. You would think that would be more than enough, but not them. They also hold group sessions for the parents to help us deal with this difficult time in our lives. To come to terms with the fact that none of this is our fault despite what they think, that it is okay to have the plethora of feelings that barrage us on a daily basis, and that most of all we are not alone in any of it.
In short, or as I look back over what we have written maybe not so short, we believe that we owe much to SIBSPlace, for our daughter, our son and for us as well. I truly believe that we would not have gotten though much of what we had to endure with out the help of SIBSPlace. We are eternally indebted and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
If you are interested in learning more about SIBSPlace, please contact
Suzanne Kornblatt, LMSW, at (516) 374-3000.
“SIBSPlace…A Place Where A Child Matters Most!”
SIBSPlace • 1420 Broadway • Hewlett, NY 11557 • (516) 374-3000 • sibsplace.org