Families Providing Support

We appreciate the unique benefits that come from parents connecting with other parents for support, information and resources. Examples of ways you can provide support include:

Families Providing Support Highlights

More than 100 parent volunteers have completed six hours of training and been involved with the Parent Support Program over the years. Most typically, these parent volunteers connect over the phone with families at a time when they are learning about their child's new diagnosis or special health need and are wanting to talk with another parent who has been through something similar.

“When talking with another parent, there is a different level of understanding and connection. Sharing a similar experience produces an indescribable empathy and provides hope for getting through, regardless of the family or child’s circumstance.”

Tina Gilles, parent, Parent Support Program volunteer  

“A variety of parent and family support groups take place at Seattle Children's. Some groups are facilitated directly by hospital staff, while others are run by community organizations or volunteer parents. Each group has its own culture and style, but all of them offer families the opportunity to find support in others.

After being with parents who have children with severe autism, like my child, I feel like I have been heard in a way that only parents with a child like mine can feel, sense and hear. This rare opportunity for support provides me with the hope I need to continue my difficult, challenging parenting journey with optimism and courage.”

Kari Nyland, parent of a child who lives with autism

A number of the support groups currently taking place are organized, coordinated and led by parents volunteering their time. Each of the parent leaders has relationships with staff that support their efforts in different ways.

“Having the support group as a resource for families is wonderful. The fact that it is led by parents is an added bonus.”

Tricia Lambie, social worker, Seattle Children's Heart Center

“When you are in a support group with other parents who have been through the same life-altering journey that you have, you lose the feeling that you are all alone. No matter how fantastic the medical staff is, they don't see things from a parent's perspective. When you are ready to talk about your experiences, there is no better audience than those who have been where you are, and those who are on their way there.”

Jen Trudeau, parent leader of the Pediatric Brain and Spinal Cord Tumor Support Group

For more information about families providing support, contact Maria Cervantes, Parent Support Program coordinator, at 206-987-1119.

For more information about finding support and connection, please visit CSHCN.org.