Support Groups

August 6, 2010

Well, it’s been a long crazy summer, even though it was only six weeks! But Chloe’s back at school, and I’m determined to be better about posting now.

So, support groups. I’ve tried to start several. Three or four. What happens is, you think “I’d like to get together with some other parents who are dealing with the same stuff as me, and we can talk about it and eat cookies or whatever.” You talk to a couple other parents, and they think it’s a great idea. So you reserve a room at the local community center, put up some fliers, send out some emails, contact some non-profit groups and get them to put a blurb in their newsletter, buy the cookies, set up a projector with some informational presentation or whatever, and wait. You wait there for an hour and eat all the cookies before you give up and go home.

Now, granted, this doesn’t happen every single time. In fact, most of the support group meetings I’ve helped organize had one or two people there. I think five was the record. But it’s never enough to maintain the momentum, and they all fizzle eventually. We finally gave up on the last support group, and moved it to a Yahoo listserv. I thought it was a great idea, and sent out emails to everyone on the list, telling them to sign up and we could start having conversations on the internet. Three people signed up, so that fizzled, too.

But I didn’t give up. I started another group, on Google groups this time, since it proved to be more user-friendly. I widened the membership, opening it to all disabilities and to professionals and adults with disabilities, too, instead of just parents. I contacted every organization I could think of, and got a lot of help coming up with ideas.
Right away, I got about 20 people signed up, and I started sending out emails, eager to start having helpful and interesting conversations with a diverse group of people. I forwarded informative emails, and brought up different discussion topics. A few people answered, and a couple even sent out the occasional email, but mostly, it became Camilla’s Repository of Information. I know some of it has been helpful to some people, but the listserv did not end up being the lively, dynamic conversation that I had hoped for.

Well, this is getting long enough for today. Tune in next time for my thoughts on why support groups fizzle and what someone could do about it. In the meantime, tell me what you think about my efforts. Any suggestions?

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2 Responses to “Support Groups”

  1. Missy Joyce Says:

    The cookies were good though!


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