Family support conferences: more than just workshops, they're support!
The fourth edition of the family support conference was held at the Carrefour communautaire de Rosemont l’Entre-Gens on December 1st, 2013. The theme "Taking care of ourselves can help everyone" was meant for parents and significant relatives of children who attend the Lighthouse.
The conferences are important meetings, allowing families to share, break the loneliness, and ponder about solutions to overcome their daily difficulties. Marie Duschesneau, officer of human relations at the Lighthouse Children and Families, explains: "Families who participate come from different backgrounds and situations. The exchanges between parents help them build tools to face future obstacles."
Eight families attended the last conference. Volunteers, speakers, and employees of the Lighthouse greeted the participants, who had the chance to discuss about their situation. Parents could entrust their children to the care of the daycare team (who are staff and volunteers of the Lighthouse), a service that has been offered to allow parents to attend meetings.
While their kids have fun, parents attended a workshop called "Taking time for myself, is it possible?" given by Ginette Larose. The speaker, herself a mother of four children, one of which has benefited from the Lighthouse's services during her lifetime, has dissected this issue: why is it so hard? What are the obstacles? What are the impacts on our relationships, children, spouse and us? Mrs. Larose has discussed about solutions stemming from personal experience, exercises, discussions, and theories as well.
George Bastien, speaker in spiritual care at the CHU Saint-Justine, led a second workshop after the supper called: "Searching for meaning together, in full awareness of reality: every day, every hour, and even every breath". The conference allowed the participants to find ways to live reality, love yourself enough to take care of not only yourself but your sick child through short lessons, experience sharing, and different awareness exercises.
The day ended with relaxation as participants enjoyed a 15-minute massage given by massotherapists.
Julie Perreault, volunteer editor for the Lighthouse