My sister has bipolar disorder, which is characterized by manic episodes, intense depression, distress, and sometimes suicidal thoughts. Society and adults don’t often recognize the unique struggles and challenges of having a sibling with special needs. Seeing these episodes can make that sibling feel distressed, concerned, and often helpless.
My vision in creating Special Siblings was to create a space that was safe for siblings to develop better senses of support, understanding, and acceptance with the help of experts. There is something very special about being in a group where everyone else understands your experiences.
There are meetings where kids will open up in a way that some of them never have before and describes situations which were really scary for them in the moment. Another really important component of our monthly meetings is bringing in mental health experts who help facilitate the support group discussion and provide one-on-one advice and strategies.
What’s really awesome about Special Siblings is the community sense of it. Even if they’re from different school systems or are different ages, the members come to understand each other and rely on each other.
Seeing them grow with each other makes me really proud to have founded Special Siblings. I’m really thankful that this award will allow me to open a new chapter in Raleigh, North Carolina. Where I’m from, there aren’t many Jewish people, so this award is special, and that it unites me with other young Jewish changemakers.