Since its reorganization in 2001, the goal of Parent Network of Western New York has been to offer support to families and professionals so that they can empower individuals with disabilities to reach their full potential, and perhaps no program does that better than their Family Empowerment Series, which provides the families of individuals with disabilities with the support, education, connection, and empowerment they need.
One family that was able to achieve success through Parent Network’s Family Empowerment Series is Jackie and her daughter. Before taking part in the series, Jackie struggled with advocating for her daughter, and would often let others advocate for her because she felt that she was not able to be effective. Sometimes this left her feeling helpless. Now, because of her experience with Parent Network, Jackie is confident in not only her ability to advocate for her child, but also in her ability to help other parents who have children with disabilities. She has also now started to focus more on planning her daughter’s future, as opposed to focusing only on current problems.
Jackie feels that Parent Network’s Family Empowerment Series was able to help her because of the “safe place” that was created for parents during the series. This helped Jackie and other parents learn how to best help their children in a nonjudgmental and welcoming environment, which built their confidence and positive attitudes. She also raved about the binder that the series helped her to create, which has helped her to stay organized for her daughter. Now that Jackie has completed the Family Empowerment Series, she plans to continue her relationship with Parent Network through taking more classes to build her skills. It is important to her to “remain a part of a supportive network” where she can help other parents through the process, so that one day they also be able to tell their success story.