Families for a Secure Future is committed to reaching out to and supporting adults who have a developmental disabilities and their families. Some families choose to become part of a Family Group. We have a network of local Family Groups across Ontario. These mutual support groups come together to learn and to support one another to take the next step toward imagining and creating a better future with and for their family members.
Family Groups are typically comprised of parents and siblings however we define family broadly as those that love and care for the individual, those that are prepared to stand by the individual and show evidence of a personal, committed relationship over time.
Establishing a Family Group
Once several families join together to establish a Family Group, the Facilitator assists each group to explore which themes/topics seem to be of most interest to the group as a whole. The Facilitator’s role is to help the group to create a safe space to meet and talk about what matters. When families come together the topics that get covered can be weighty and complex. This entails a level of confidentiality and trust among the members of the group and the Facilitator. The Facilitator brings his/her experience and resources to bear on the questions that are raised in the group.
The Facilitator also supports the group to set a yearly learning agenda so that they can focus on building capacity as well as learning and growing together. This sometimes entails the group asking the Facilitator to help research and present on a particular topic and at other times, inviting a speaker to come and present to the group.
Family Groups are places of learning, storytelling and celebration and families tell us that what they cherish most about them is:
Participating in a Group
Some Family Groups find it helpful to dedicate a part of their time together on giving updates. Each family will go around the circle and talk about their own lives and share what is happening in the lives of each of their family member. This provides an opportunity to speak about the trials and successes that they are encountering in trying to help their family member re-imagine their futures and have a more meaningful life where they are seen and honoured for the gifts that they can bring to others. It also helps the Facilitator stay engaged with famliies on a monthly basis.
It is important for families to have a place that they will really be heard, where people do not judge or condemn them and where people understand. Sharing with each other in this way also helps families learn how it is possible to make changes. Often during updates, families get inspired and emboldened by one another to take the next step in their own lives. They begin to hear aspects of their own story in the story of others and build compassion for one another.
By participating in a family group, people learn about where they can go for resources and how they can advocate more effectively on behalf of their family member. They learn that they are not alone and can ask each other for support and coaching.
Existing Family Groups
Families for Quality Life – Pickering
Hillsburgh/Erin – East Wellington
North Wellington Family Group – Mount Forest
Guelph Family Group-Guelph
Brampton Family Group- Brampton