The Power of Parent Support: Sharing Your Connection Stories!

The Power of Parent Support:   Sharing Your Connection Stories!

Nearly all parents who don’t have special needs kids can’t relate to our lives with the levels of stress we have. It’s nice to connect to others that really get it. All of the advocacy advice and info is awesome I would be lost without it. ~Father who participates in the P2P Online Parent Support Group

Connecting Families by Building Inclusive Communities….Taking Action…Supporting Each Other!  At Parent to Parent of Colorado, we take our mission seriously! What began as a small group of parents who were seeking to develop a grassroots support organization 20 years ago has grown to over 4000 members across the state of Colorado!    We also have members in Wyoming and Utah (where there is not a P2P USA Affiliate currently) and members from other states who have joined us when they are anticipating moving to Colorado.

Our members represent the diversity of parents living in our state…from those who live along the front range to families in rural and frontier areas.  From single parents to married couples to grandparents and foster parents.  We represent all racial and ethnic backgrounds as well as a diversity of political philosophies and ideologies and parenting philosophies.  Fundamental to our group is value and respect for each other.

Our Mission: 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.

What began as a private email list serve as a way to connect parents in a safe, confidential atmosphere has also grown over the years!  We continue to support parents daily with our Online Parent Support Group (yahoo list serve) and we have also expanded to Padre a Padre de Colorado (a private Facebook group to support parents who communicate in Spanish) and to a public group on our Facebook page that includes parents, professionals and community members!  We have an online group for members who want to focus on public policy.  Parenting with Altitude is a blog with the unique perspectives of parents and it’s sister, Parenting with Altitude LIVE, is a weekly Facebook Live broadcast focusing on current public policy issues.

As part of our 20th Anniversary celebration, we asked both parents and professionals to tell us how they got connected to Parent to Parent of Colorado and what they feel is the power of parent support.  The answers were compelling, touching, moving, celebratory and more!  We want to share a few of the wonderful comments we received!

There are NO words truly to explain what happens within a parent when another parent comes along side them and knows. They just know. It is empowering no matter how challenging any particular situation or life in general with a special needs child is. “Me too” changed everything about my life. It gives hope. Alone parenting makes P2P support that much more important. ~Single Mom to an adopted child affected by fetal alcohol syndrome and autism
For me….the power of parent support is knowing that I’m not the only one that still needs support. If I need anything I can ask and someone will answer most of the time I just look in list serve and my answer is there. Also there’s always ideas of what to do out there for our kiddos or classes for us. ~Mom who connected with P2P at a resource fair

Seriously? There’s nothing better. When the doctors and therapists go home for the day it’s other parents who have my back and know what I’m dealing with day to day. ~Parent of a son with autism who was given P2P information from diagnostic team
Connecting with others from all different parts along the journey. This provides immense amount of wisdom, information, suggestions, referrals, ideas, and all around support of ‘I’ve been there. I know what you’re going through.’ ~Dad of child with cerebral palsy

We also asked how parents first connected to P2P-CO and received some terrific responses!

I believe it was one of the dozens of pamphlets handed to us at the hospital after we found out our son had Cerebral Palsy. It took us a while to go through everything, but we eventually signed up for the list serve to get connected and find resources. ~Dad who is active with our Online Parent Support Group
I was given resources from Early Intervention and then found you on line! ~Mom of a young child
I was at the big Summit at the Summit conference in Breckenridge (May 1997) that created the idea of Parent to Parent and started the group leadership! ~Founding Member

Some members knew us as professionals before becoming parents.  Many of us wear multiple “hats” as parents, professionals and/or advocates.  However, our parent ‘hat’ is always part of our P2P response!

I got connected to Parent to Parent many years ago as a professional when I would connect the parents of my special needs students to resources and support groups. I am now a resource for other families because I am now the mother of a child who is deaf/hard of hearing. ~Mom with 2 “hats”

Finally, this parent sums up the importance of Parent Support and the value of having a diverse group of parents who can respond to each other, as we say, ’24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year’:

I loved it in the beginning especially, as I could post a question at 2 am, if that was when I had a moment, and the answer would be there in the morning, or the next day. But I did not wake anyone up, and it was there when I could get to it. I had no time or ability to attend a “support” group, in the traditional sense, but my P2P support group was always available. When my son got his g-tube, for feeding, we had a terrible time figuring out how to vent him. I posted a question about it on P2P and a mom from Grand Junction suggested we try something, and that ended up being our answer. We never met, but she helped us tremendously. The power of parent support is in the ability of the parents of parent to parent to reach out and support other parents. Many times I had a specific questions about a surgery, or a therapy, or a method of feeding. I would ask the question on P2P and within hours or days many parents had offered their wisdom, experiences or just a listening ear and the answer for us would emerge from the P2P posts. When My son needed a hip surgery, I was able to reach out to many parents on P2P who were willing to spend a lot of time talking to me and giving me the benefit of their experiences. I do believe that is why our experience was not as horrible as it could have been. It was very helpful to be prepared as we could be for the surgery, the hospitalization, and the recovery. It is the greatest bunch of parents out there. Thank you P2P…you have been my support group for 18 years!

Whether you were there from the beginning or are just getting started or are somewhere in between, we appreciate your part in Parent to Parent of Colorado.   If you are a professional who works with families, we value your participation and contributions to our parents.  As the P2P Staff and Advisory Board we marvel at the thoughtful, kind, consistent responses provided to our members when there is a need.  We truly see the importance of Parent Support on a day to day basis and appreciate the unique contributions of each of our members! 

Editor’s Note:  For more information about the services and supports that Parent to Parent of Colorado provides, visit our Family Services page.  Are YOU Connected?  Join US now!  It’s free and easy!  Looking for hundreds of parent recommended resources?  Visit The Resource Storeroom!  Read more about how Parent to Parent of Colorado got its start!  The History of P2P-CO

Share YOUR Connection with P2P-CO! Take a picture of yourself and your family! Tell us how you got connected on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter! Use #P2PCelebrate20




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