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.