Local Teen Autism Advocates provide sibling support

Hope for Three’s Teen Council recently hosted an open house for its Sibling Support Program at the Sugar Land Family Church.  Pictured are Teen Council Volunteers Zach Zubel and Faye James who are spending time with siblings Collin and Lakin Montgomery and Grace Buckle.  Lakin is one of Collin’s triplet sisters who are on the spectrum.  Buckle’s twin sister Anne Marie has autism as well.

The saying “Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something, no matter the age,” rings true for the Hope for Three Teen Council, whose eagerness to BE the difference brought about the creation of a Sibling Support Group for families living with autism.

The Teen Autism Advocates recently gathered with several families at the Sugar Land Family Church to introduce the sibling support program.  “So often as we find resources for children with autism, we find there is a sibling who could use a little outlet,” says Mary Ann Hibbeler, Hope for Three, Family Resource Coordinator.  “Our teen council helps to provide a little cushion for parents who many times, due to the extraordinary demands of raising a child with autism, are trying to find enough hours in the day to give to siblings.”

Along with the Sibling Support Program, Hope for Three has partnered with the Sugar Land  Family Church (SLFC) to host a Parent’s Night Out.  The night out will give parents an opportunity to have a little adult time, knowing that their children are in good hands.  SLFC will provide the facility as well as trained volunteers to assist the teen council during Parent’s Night Out.  “Our research shows that one percent of the nation’s churches have programs that can accommodate the special needs,” said Pastor Nate Keller, SLFC.  “Partnering with Hope for Three is indeed an honor for our entire congregation to give back to the community in this manner,” Pastor Keller continued.

The Hope for Three Teen Council is comprised of area teens who were educated about autism through Hope for Three’s It’s Cool to Care Program and teens who have a family member or extended family member with autism.  They meet once a month to discuss various activities and awareness efforts.  The Council is guided by adult Hope for Three volunteers.  Both adult and teen volunteers go through ongoing training to better advocate for families as well as provide a strong support for siblings.

For autism families interested in joining the Hope for Three Teen Council Sibling Support Program or Parent’s Night Out  call 1-800-317-0787 or visit www.hopeforthree.org.

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