Sibling Connections was founded in 2005 by Judy Cockerton with the establishment of Camp to Belong MA, (now called Sibling Connections Camp MA), a week-long overnight camp for kids experiencing foster care to reconnect with their siblings.
After the first camp and witnessing first hand how vital the sibling connection is for children who have experienced traumatic loss, Sibling Connections expanded its mission by establishing Sibling Sundays in Western MA in the fall of 2005. Sibling Sundays offer regularly scheduled opportunities for sisters and brothers who live apart to connect in a safe environment and create joyous shared memories that most siblings take for granted. Sibling Sundays have grown to operate monthly from October through May in the Greater Boston, Lowell/Lawrence, and Western MA regions.
In 2013 we launched a Youth Leadership Program (YLP) as a part of our camp programming in order to maintain relationships with our older program participants. This program offers an opportunity for children who are “aging out” of foster care to develop leadership skills including Counselor in Training workshops with the dual goal of providing a support system to this population as they transition to adulthood as well as to train future volunteer camp counselors who we hope will continue to be involved in our camp as adults.
In 2016, we established bi-annual Weekend Retreats, giving 30-35 youth (8-11 sibling groups) the opportunity to spend a typical weekend together making pancakes, playing games and having fun at retreat centers throughout the state.
Our programs rely on our group of dedicated volunteers, who provide much needed emotional support to siblings participating in our programs and are sometimes the only adults in their lives who are not paid to spend time with them.
We look forward to a future of serving even more siblings groups across the state, expanding our programs, and continuing to spread awareness on the importance of sibling relationships.