Robin Hood Association

The Family Guild

The Robin Hood Association’s mission is to “assist individuals with disabilities to achieve their personal best and experience a quality lifestyle.” Its services are concentrated in Sherwood Park and Fort Saskatchewan in Alberta.

The Family Guild is made up of families in the Robin Hood Association who wish to meet other families who share similar interests. What is notable about the Family Guild is that it works to provide a larger network of support for families, something which has been cited by many of our survey respondents as both necessary and difficult to achieve. It is focused on providing support and learning from one another, as well as organizing activities to promote friendship.

Through monthly planning and friendship meetings, an online forum, the provision of support and mentorship by its members for its members and the organization of activities to promote friendship the Family Guild is an example of not only talking about building community, but also taking action to do so.

For more information contact the Robin Hood Association.

“I am not alone on this journey”

The Family Guild came into my life at just the right time. Having a child with special needs can be isolating at times. I craved a place where others understood what I was thinking and feeling. These parents, usually other moms, sometimes dads, they just get it. The Guild has given me connections with other families. These parents have life experiences and hard earned wisdom that they readily share. Their advocacy for their kids has paved the way for families to come. They show me that there is life after the diagnosis. Perhaps the best gift is the sense of community - I am not alone on this journey.

One member got her daughter to get a copy of an informative book (free to BC residents) for my use. She has also lent me books ,from her own library, written by moms of special needs children. Another time, my daughter cut her hand badly and the nurse on duty was a Guild member, she quickly calmed both of us down and we were on our way soon afterwards.

Our meetings are filled with laughter, understanding, words of comfort and support and sometimes tears. Often baking. And I hate to miss a meeting. It’s just that good.

Vi Poon, Sherwood Park, AB

Leaning on People Makes You Stronger

My name is Joan Sylvester and I have a 45 year old daughter with multiple disabilities. Joining ‘The Family Guild’ connected me with a group of people that really understand my experiences with my daughter. We are a group of all women (although we didn’t plan to be exclusively women, maybe we scared the men away!). I am fortunate that I have a supportive family and friends but this group helps fill a loneliness that I have felt on this journey. We laugh, we cry and we support each other with the struggles we may face. I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. I have learned through this powerful group of women that sharing and leaning on people actually makes you stronger. One of our goals has been ‘Partners In Care’. We are learning to be courageous and caring when dealing with support staff. Mutual respect and understanding are key elements of a positive staff and family relationship. I feel less alone when faced with struggles that go along with having a child with disabilities and for this I feel very fortunate and better at dealing with the diversity we may face.

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