Group will begin 2012-13 year Oct. 3
Friday August 24, 2012 — Michelle Strutzenberger
A Vancouver parent group is making it possible for more connection, information and wisdom to grow between families whose sons and daughters are graduating high school, and in Yuko McColluch’s view that’s the best kind of support these families could have.
She speaks from experience.
Four years ago, Yuko’s son was in Grade 11, facing the whole new world of adulthood only a couple of years away, but the family had no information and no planning for his transition made available to them.
Then she joined this parent-driven support group, and gleaned such a wealth of information and support she was stunned by what she didn’t know — and “I consider myself a reasonably well-informed person,” she says with a chuckle.
Yuko is now one of the key co-ordinators of the group, which is looking to launch for the 2012-13 year on October 3.
As in the past, the group will meet Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Meetings are held in one of two locations, on the west side at Pacific Spirit Community Health Centre and on the east at Britannia Community Services Centre.
Yuko says the group is also open to making arrangements to meet with families at their child’s school.
The intention of the Vancouver Parents Transition Group is to support and educate parents and caregivers of youth who are leaving high school.
It looks to provide hints and wisdom from those who’ve gone before on how to navigate a new system of supports as they leave the Ministry of Children and Family Development and become clients of Community Living British Columbia, a process Yuko describes as “very daunting.”
The group has also sought and begun to be successful in advocating for government and the local school board to be more conscious of and proactive in supporting families in the transition process.
It was recently invited to present to a group of teachers on transition and how they can provide support.
While the group has found it’s helpful to recruit guest speakers, it has also realized that the “before and after” conversations amongst attending families are just as important, says Yuko.
“I think at the end of the day, if you are going through the transition process, your most valuable asset and the person who will be most helpful is someone that has done it,” she notes.
Even better is if that person can walk with you through the process, even attending some of the many and often daunting meetings required around accessing various supports, she adds.
The Vancouver Parents Transition Group is supported by the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (BACI). A BACI staff-member attends some of the sessions. Other sponsors include posAbilities, Spectrum Society for Community Living, BC Children’s Hospital Foundation and Vancouver Coastal Health.
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