SIBSPLACE “Survivorship in Brothers and Sisters”
SIBSPLACE® is a free therapeutic program of South Nassau Communities Hospital. The program serves children ages 5-17, who are living with a sibling with cancer or another devastating illness, or a parent with cancer. SIBSPLACE provides support and attention to the unique experience and needs of the well children as they face the issues and conflicts related to the illness of their loved one. Professional mental health staff foster resiliency through the encouragement of peer support and creative arts activities. During a traumatic family experience, it is important for the well child to identify their feelings through increased self- expression and coping skills. With each program experience, we strive to provide our participants with the opportunity for healthy growth and development. Our door is opened to all children no matter what hospital is treating their loved one.
Peer support services to address issues of anticipatory grief are offered twice weekly. A parent support group is available weekly because each member of a family is impacted by traumatic illness. A 6-week summer camp experience, bereavement services and a monthly pre-teen and teen group are offered to support our SIBSPlace families effectively.
SIBSPlace (Survivorship in Brothers and Sisters) is a donor-funded program, and serves a population that has been historically underserved, at no cost to the families. The only program of its kind in the United States, it has served 377 families and 599 children since it was founded in 2000. Serious illness takes its toll on the body, mind and soul of families. How parents and siblings cope with this life altering experience shapes future family dynamics. The reality is, when one family member has a devastating illness...the well child suffers too.
Often, families who have a devastatingly ill loved one are too distracted to focus on the needs of the well children. It is a difficult reality for all of the family members. At SIBSPlace we provide a supportive and nurturing environment where children can come together and through play, art and music therapies learn coping skills that will help them lead more effective lives today, and in their future.
During programming, using the SIBSPlace model we address the children's needs through the following peer support activities:
- Art Group-Facilitated by creative arts therapist
- Verbal Groups- Facilitated by licensed mental health professionals
- Age Appropriate Group Discussions
- Teen and Pre-Teen
- Homework Assistance- Homework support is provided by retired teachers and trained volunteers
- Parents Support Group- Facilitated by mental health professionals
- Community Meal
- Additional Events:
- Peer Engagement Activities
- Parent/Child Engagement Activities
- Pet Therapy
- Parenting & Wellness Workshops
children are not supposed to be in this life-threatening situation. They recognize their own vulnerability…
they can get cancer… too. They see things that are often too difficult for adults to see and cope with.
around the possibility of loss of a sibling, and loss of family stability.
ISOLATION AND ABANDONMENTS
as they are separated from their parents who are often in the hospital with the ill child.
everyone is paying attention to the ill child’s needs.
for the thoughts and feelings they have towards their sibling whose illness has disrupted their lives.
LOSS OF POWER AND CONTROL
over events that affect their lives and the ability to make everything go back to normal…
the way it used to be before their sibling was diagnosed.
children don't like being "different" and the well child feels uncomfortable when
an ill loved one draws attention to them.
SIBSPlace can make a remarkable difference in the outcomes of the lives of its participants. Awareness of our program and the positive impact it can have on the lives of the youngsters who attend SIBSPlace, is highly valuable. Unfortunately, so many communities include families that are affected by the traumatic illness of a child or parent. We hope that no one ever needs our services, however, if they do, than it is a gift to provide the resource of information about our program.
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