Springbrook’s Parent Council – My Family, My Springbrook

When a person chooses to enroll in a program through Springbrook, they become part of a multifaceted organization with support for a lifetime at the center of our mission. This support extends beyond the person receiving services through Springbrook. A person’s family is an integral part of their life and when a family needs the support of Springbrook, we are here for them as well. It is with this in mind that Springbrook proudly brings together the Parent Council, a family advocacy group made up of parents, relatives, and caregivers of individuals who receive a wide range of Springbrook programs. The purpose and direction of the Parent Council have been defined by its members, who share common needs: a forum for discussion, fellowship with other people who have a vested interest in the continued success of Springbrook, and an expanded level of access to strategic level decision making with key administrators.

Why Join The Parent Council?

The opportunity to engage with Springbrook leadership is a small part of the advantages of joining the Parent Council. The most significant benefit is the connections made with other families; those who have been in the same or similar circumstances surrounding the wellbeing, education, and health of a loved one with a developmental disability. However, there is an opportunity to accomplish many other great tasks with this group. Parent Council members are a resource for families new to Springbrook, a voice of advocacy at the local and state level, and a partner in fundraising for the organization. One such example is relatively new, but a powerful example of the contribution that the Parent Council provides; the Parent Council Scholarship.

The Parent Council Scholarship

Each June for the past three years, a deserving honoree has received The Parent Council Scholarship during Commencement exercises at the School at Springbrook. The award is given to a graduate who, like most leaving secondary education, needs financial assistance establishing the first phase of their adult life. Funds from the scholarship can be used for furnishing a new living space, adaptive equipment, or personal care, depending on the need of the person at the time they graduate. This assistance comes at a critical time of change in a graduate’s life. The scholarship can be a significant weight off a person’s shoulders as they find an adult program, transition into a new routine, and continue to develop independence in their daily lives. What an incredible gift, all made possible by a dedicated group of parents and families who bring compassion through action!

What the Parent Council Means to Members

Members of the Parent Council have loved ones that range from school-aged through our adult programs. One such member is Co-Chair Wendy Martinez, whose son David is a School at Springbrook graduate and currently part of the Oneonta Capstone Dayhab program. When asked what being part of the Parent Council meant to her, she had this to say:

“I am honored to be the Co-Chair of the Springbrook Parent Council and parent to a wonderful young man. For me, being a part of the council has never been a question of why, but why not? The Parent Council is an avenue for families and advocates to have a voice in the educational and residential supports their loved ones are receiving. As members of the Parent Council, we need not journey alone in advocating for funding, quality services, and resources for our children. We are part of the larger Springbrook team.”

Dave and Jan Cottrell’s son, Nick, is a 2016 graduate from The Tom Golisano Center for Autism at the School at Springbrook. Nick recently moved to our newest Community Home in Endicott and loves spending time with his family who live nearby in Broome County. When asked to reflect on the value of the Parent Council, Dave had this to say:

“For my wife Jan and I, having a Parent Council at Springbrook is important because it allows staff to continue to learn from and understand what parents fear, want, and need for their children. Being members of the Council has allowed us to meet other parents and share what we all go through. It has allowed us to help shape Springbrook’s plan for the future. We highly encourage other families to become members—to be part of a team helping to guide Springbrook’s movement forward and enabling the quality care and support of children and adults with special needs.”

How Can You Get Involved

The first step is attending a meeting or calling in if you are unable to join us in person. The next meeting is scheduled for Saturday, September 29, 2018, from 10 AM until Noon, as a part of our Family Weekend celebration. During this meeting, members of our leadership team will be on hand to discuss current trends affecting our programs and services, as well as discussing future directions for Springbrook. Parents and families will have the opportunity to ask questions general to Springbrook and specific to their loved ones support. A casual breakfast will be provided, as well as opportunities to speak with other Parent Council members. Please RSVP for the meeting/breakfast, so that we can prepare for all in attendance.

 For more information about the Parent Council, contact Stacey Grady, Director of Development at 607-286-7171 x 283, or via email.

 For more information about Family Weekend 2018, please visit our Family Day page!

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