Are YOU Connected? The Power of Parent Support!

by | May 1, 2017 | P2P

 Renee’s Story: At 30 weeks gestation, our little guy decided enough of this womb stuff and out he came. Our third preemie. Our oldest was only a few weeks early and was a typical preschooler. Our second child had only lived 45 minutes – all we wanted was for our son to live. So began a parenting journey that continues 30 years later. He lived, we breathed a sigh of relief. He had multiple challenges – we had questions – doctors didn’t have a lot of answers. I needed to talk to another parent, someone who’d been down this road before me. 30 years ago there were few programs but the social worker connected me to another parent. I’ve forgotten their names, but I remember how I felt after the conversation. Their daughter was Emily, she was 3 and I will never forget the last thing they said. They said that Emily was continuing to develop and learn but when she stopped it would be ok ‘cuz she would still be Emily.’ Wise words! I saw that there was another family who had been through this and lived to tell the tale. They were thriving – we could too.

Are YOU Connected?  The  Power of Parent Support

Twenty years ago, in May 1997, a group of parent leaders from across the state met to build on the idea of parent support.  They were seeking the type of support that only parents who have “been there” can give to each other.  Out of these beginning conversations grew the idea of a group that could connect parents to each other across the state….Parent to Parent of Colorado!

It is our vision that parents and their sons and daughters are integral valued members of society with a voice in shaping their chosen communities. 

These parents envisioned a group that was parent run and independent of the service systems in the state. And our mission became:  Parent to Parent of Colorado (P2P-CO) is a parent initiated, parent controlled, organized group that builds inclusive communities, takes effective and constructive group action and supports each other on the journey of parenting our sons and daughters with disabilities and/or special health care needs.

Pretty forward thinking for a group of parents from all different perspectives!  Many of the original founding members of P2P are still active with us today.  

Today, families connect to Parent to Parent at all different times in their lives.  Families join us with preemies, 3 year olds getting their first diagnosis, school aged children who have learning challenges, middle schoolers who have a diagnosis and the parents have never before met another parent with their child’s diagnosis. They find us and we connect them to a trained Support Parent in state or through one of our national partners.  They come with high school age youth transitioning to the world of adult services — what does the adult world look like when the little yellow bus quits coming to their door?  They come as older parents of adult sons and daughters who have been doing it on their own for decades and discover us and find out they do not have to do this alone.

The journey is unique to each family and the needs individual to the child, but through our connections parents realize that they are not alone, there are other parents who understand and can support you, and together is better!

Lisa’s story: I first heard about Parent to Parent when I was serving as a representative to the Colorado Special Education Advisory Committee. This group of parents and professionals meets regularly to advise the Colorado Exceptional Student Services unit on special education topics. I connected with Karen who was a P2PCO Staff member and also a representative on the committee. I was impressed with the ability of P2PCO to provide meaningful support to parents in a variety of ways. Karen and I also found common ground in the unique support needs of our children. When I had the opportunity to join the staff team, I found new excitement and enthusiasm for connecting families to the information and emotional supports they need on a daily basis.

From a small group of visionary parent leaders we have grown to over 4000 members across the state of Colorado (and even a few in Wyoming and Utah!).  Our strength is found in the diversity of our membership, the variety of our experiences and the willingness to share our support with each other openly and generously.  Through our outreach, information and referral services, we provided resources for over 16,000 individuals last year!  Our active Online Parent Support groups answer questions, gives advice and supports each other with an average of 250 posts per month.

As we begin to celebrate the 20 year history of Parent to Parent of Colorado, we would love to hear how YOU got connected to us!  Whether you are a parent, a professional or like many of us you wear both hats, please take a few minutes to share your thoughts in this brief survey.  We will be sharing your stories about the Power of Parent Support throughout the year!

Are YOU connected?

We connect parents of sons and daughters with disabilities and special health care needs to information and emotional support.                                                                  It’s free and easy to join us!

Lisa Franklin is the current Lead Program Coordinator for Parent to Parent. She is a mom of three and a Nana of four. Renee Walbert is the Membership and Outreach Coordinator. She is a mom of three and Oma of one. Together with our Bilingual Coordinator, Chrissy Carrera, we love supporting families and advocating in the community…and enjoy a bit of silliness from time to time too!


801 Yosemite Street   |   Denver, CO 80230   |   303.691.9339   |