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The SIBS Dolphin Cruise on the South Coast.
I love the activities we do and the buddies we are matched with are awesome. Camps are so much fun and I have met lots of new friends. To this day, I still love going to SIBS and wish everyone could give it a go and have the fun that I get to experience".
Corey, 13 years old.

Meet Corey

Corey is a bright, happy and fun-loving 13-year-old boy who bears a heavy weight on his shoulders.  In addition to the pressure of being a teenager, Corey is a carer for his older brothers Bryce and Maddison.

Maddison has a severe intellectual disability, Dyspraxia, Autism Spectrum Disorder and is non-verbal, while his other brother Bryce has Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Every day, Corey is responsible for helping his Mum care for his older brothers, while she works three jobs to support the family.  Corey has a long list of responsibilities each day. He helps with the daily care of his oldest brother; showering, eating, getting dressed, playing games and assisting Maddison on regular walks, while interpreting his verbal needs to others. He is also responsible for making dinners, doing groceries, making breakfast and lunches and doing laundry.

While Corey loves his brothers and sees his caring role as an essential part of belonging to his family, it can also be tough at times. Corey has found it difficult to carry the heavy burden of responsibility while going to school, doing homework and missing out on time with friends and sporting activities. His brothers don't cope well with visitors in the house and they also struggle if the family try to go on outings.  

Four years ago, Corey joined the Siblings with a disability  program (SIBS) run by CatholicCare Wollongong. The program has given Corey some time for himself and a much-needed break from his caring duties, plus the stress and tension in the home. SIBS provides Corey with the chance for him just to be a kid that does kid stuff.

Through the program, Corey has participated in three camps, various day trips to Sydney, and entertainment events within the Illawarra and Shoalhaven. At SIBS Corey has met many friends – kids who understand what his home life is like, who celebrate the rewards of caring for someone who has additional needs, and who are willing to listen and support him when things are tough.

"When I first started at SIBS I was nervous and totally petrified, but after about 10 minutes I was completely settled in. Kath made me feel welcome and was always there to talk to when I was finding things hard," said Corey.

One of his most memorable occasions at SIBS has included a Dolphin and Whale watching tour on Jervis Bay. On this day Corey got to sit at the helm, steer the boat, wear the captain's hat, and have a "king of the world" moment.

How can you help?

SIBS does not qualify for grant funding so we rely on donations to run programs for these children. Your donation helps SIBS like Corey enjoy a break from their role as a sibling carer. Your donation will help SIBS like Corey a chance to attend fun activities with his friends and a break from all his responsibilities.

Please give generously.

 

"SIBS club supported my daughter as she faced the impending loss of her sister Gracie, who sadly passed away last year. SIBS club supported me too, and I attended my first carers retreat about 18 months ago. Kath firmly encouraged me to go, as it was not long after the death of my mother. It was great, Kath did good. SIBS club isn’t just for the kids, and it’s not just for a short time either. Whilst I’m no longer a ‘carer’ and Sophie is no longer a ‘SIB', Kath continues to invite us to events and I know Sophie is always welcome to any activity without question. Perhaps Sophie will support another SIB through their loss one day? I hope this won’t be necessary, but I fear it will be. Once a SIB Club family, always a SIB club family".
Sally, SIBS Mum
I don't have many friends and we don't have people come to our house very often as it's hard for my brother to deal with. During SIBS, I have been able to make friends, try new activities (like making damper and sleeping in a tent with my friends on camps) and have someone to talk too about how frustrating I sometimes get, especially when mum has to give my brother so much of her attention. I love my brother but sometimes it is hard to understand his world and why we have to do so much for him. SIBS helps me with understanding these things and how important it is to be a good brother, but also how to look after myself when I am feeling down or frustrated".
Jessie, SIBS
I am 11 years old who has a brother with Autism and an Intellectual disability. Sometimes it's hard having a brother that is older than me, but I am more like his big brother. We all must pitch in to care for him and I'm usually on shower duty. This means I must make sure the water temperature is right for him each night. My other brother is on shaving duty while mum washes him, brushes his teeth and cleans him up after toileting. If we are making ourselves food, we have to make some for him too as he can't make his own. We take turns in cutting up his meals and doing other tasks for him. Sometimes we get tired, distracted or just don't want to do our jobs and this is when mum gets cranky at us. She says it is a team effort and if we all help, she will get a break too".
Ellie, SIBS
I am enormously appreciative of the SIBS program which grows from strength to strength. The commitment you have to this program and the multitude of children who participate is difficult to quantify BUT I know children don't want to separate. In truth you are a lifeline, a comfort, an enormous support and valued well beyond monetary value. The program is a massive positive to our region and the numerous children who are impacted by living with siblings with a disability".
Jeff, SIBS Dad.
I feel that Kaitlyn's life is richer due to the SIBS program. has offered her great opportunities for personal growth, emotional support and a safe "space" away from home. It is difficult to outline exactly what you provide us - an ear to listen to our anxieties about parenting in a complex family dynamic, no judgement, practical opportunities for Kaitlyn to experience things that our family can't do together. Kaitlyn loves her time with SIBS and the people and leadership in this program have enriched her life. Unfortunately, she has experienced some anxiety and I have valued opportunities to explore my concerns with you. The SIBS program seems full of fun and outings, but it is so much more to our family and many others".
Michelle, SIBS Mum
It's a place where everyone is in the same boat, where having a sibling with a disability is not only ok, but normal. The buddies are young people who have lived through a similar experience to our daughter Trixie. Trixie is looking forward to becoming a buddy herself one day and I know she will do a fantastic job in this role. Kath is one of the most generous, caring, compassionate, understanding and generally awesome people we have ever met. Kath is always an advocate for all children and families and we are so grateful that CatholicCare are continuing to be committed to this wonderful program. It's the only one of its kind in the Illawarra and we are so grateful to have it!"
Charlie, SIBS Mum
SIBS Club allows for my younger children to have the focus on them and feel they are special too. They love their time at SIBS club in the safe, fun and professional environment Kath has established with her awesome volunteers. I also get to have one day where I can have 1:1 with my eldest son. This day is a lovely day without the guilty feeling of having to choose between my children. SIBS Club is a life saver in our family".
Michael, SIBS Dad
We are a family of 3, and my 12 year old son has Autism. My 10 year old daughter has had to grow up very quickly and learn to take on quite a caring role from an early age. Looking back over the younger years, I realised that she got sidelined a lot and had to miss out on many social events or typical family outings, because her brother struggled so much in those settings. We found SIBS club has enabled her to share similar experiences with other children and she has a safe space to just be herself, laugh and have fun, like any 10 year old girl should. She puts her hand up for every SIBS outing and comes home very empowered and happy. We are so blessed to be part of such a supportive and inclusive group".
Anne, SIBS Mum
I have two siblings with autism and I love being there for them. We all look out for each other so that makes caring for them much easier. Sometimes it can be difficult to deal with their attitudes and habits, but we overcome them together. SIBS helps my sister and I experience outings we wouldn't normally be able to because of the time, support and resources needed for normal outings with my family. I've made new friends at SIBS who I can relate to and have learned new things as well. I really enjoy SIBS and all the positive experiences I've been able to have because of it".
Kylie, SIBS
We are a family of 3, and my 12 year old son has Autism. My 10 year old daughter has had to grow up very quickly and learn to take on quite a caring role from an early age. Looking back over the younger years, I realised that she got sidelined a lot and had to miss out on many social events or typical family outings, because her brother struggled so much in those settings. We found SIBS club has enabled her to share similar experiences with other children and she has a safe space to just be herself, laugh and have fun, like any 10 year old girl should. She puts her hand up for every SIBS outing and comes home very empowered and happy. We are so blessed to be part of such a supportive and inclusive group".
Shelly, SIBS Mum