Newsline Volume 31, Number 3

Family TIES of Massachusetts -
Together In Enhancing Support

By Mary Castro Summers, Director, Family TIES of Massachusetts

Have you ever had the following types of thoughts and wondered if there was a place to call for help? "This is really hard." "I can't take one more minute of this life." "I really can't do this by myself any more." "I don't feel in control." "The answer is, call Family TIES of Massachusetts.

Family TIES has a Parent-to-Parent Program that provides support to families of children with disabilities, special health care needs, and chronic illnesses. Parents who participate in our Parent-to-Parent Program can talk with another parent who truly understands the daily challenges and difficult moments in time when caring for some aspect of their child's needs just seems too much to bear. At these critical times of need, it is so important to know you are not alone!

To start the Parent-to-Parent Match process, call your Regional Coordinator at 1-800-905-TIES (8437) or download and complete the Match Request form, available in English and Spanish, on our Web site at www.massfamilyties.org/p2p/p2p.php. Simply complete the form and return it to the address on the form. Our Parent-to-Parent Coordinator will review your request, and your Regional Coordinator will call you to follow up and provide additional resources and information that may be helpful to your child and family. Once we identify a Match, a trained volunteer Support Parent will contact you and provide emotional support, and assure you that like them, you will get through this challenging moment in your life. And, like them, you will see there are many blessings that come out of difficult days. With these conversations comes a revitalized sense of hope for your child and yourself.

In today's fast-paced society, it seems like there is no time to just sit and chat. However, for the families we serve and for ourselves, as parents of children with special needs, there is no greater gift than making time to sit and chat - to process the emotional side of meeting the many needs in our lives, including those of our children with special needs. In making the time to understand and share those feelings with another parent who is on this same road, you will see that all of us have special needs. By talking with another parent, you are also meeting your own needs.

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Family TIES of Massachusetts is a statewide parent-to-parent information and support network for families of children with disabilities, special healthcare needs, or chronic illnesses. We are an Alliance Member of Parent to Parent USA, a national organization that provides technical assistance to parent-to-parent programs across the country. For more information about Family TIES, call 1-800-905-TIES (8437) or visit www.massfamilyties.org.
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