Once again, the New Brunswick Association for Community Living (NBACL) co-hosted the annual Values, Visions, and Actions (VVA) retreat for parents or guardians of children with intellectual or developmental disabilities, this year in Alma.
With four facilitators and 21 parents and guardians attending, this year’s VVA retreat was one of the largest to be co-hosted by the NBACL and the Canadian Association for Community Living to date. This session was sponsored by the Community Living Board-Fundy Region.
The VVA was co-lead by NBACL’s Tammy MacTavish and Debbie Thomas. Melissa Larivee and Torey Smith, Family Support Facilitators at NBACL, assisted in the facilitation of the VVA.
“The best part of the weekend was seeing families feel comfortable enough to share stories with one another,” said Tammy MacTavish, NBACL’s Manager of Early Learning and Family Support. “It was great seeing families being families. The dads chatting out at the bonfire, the moms talking in the living room, all sharing about life and having someone else who just gets it,” she said.
Families came from all over the province, sharing community supports which were readily available in their communities, building a strong network of community support. Lifelong friendships started to form as families exchanged emails and phone numbers.
“This year we had parents in attendance with children of all ages and stages of development—pre-school to adulthood. There was interest in all areas of support and programs,” said Debbie, Development Coordinator at NBACL. “It was incredible to see parents of older children team up with the families with younger children to exchange information, ideas, support and knowledge. Their knowledge was invaluable to the other parents and guardians.”
The weekend was an opportunity for parents to re-energize, network and meet other parents hurdling similar barriers, trials and tribulations.
The VVA Retreat is a one-of-a-kind workshop geared toward families who are looking to explore how to develop strategies to put their values and visions into action, strengthen family to family connections, and recognize how family leadership can change how society sees, understands, and accepts disability