What is a Family Mentor?
A Family Mentor is a Family Leader (volunteer with lived experience) who has been specifically trained to draw on their personal lived experiences to provide peer support.
Mentors are passionate about providing helpful tips and offering peer support to other families, caregivers, and parents with a child who is receiving or has received services at Holland Bloorview.
How do Family Mentors support other families?
Family caregivers will have the opportunity to connect with Family Mentors in an online Family Support Network group as well as through virtual or in-person one-to-one peer support sessions. Some of the areas that our Family Mentors are able to discuss with you could include their experiences around:
- Navigating hospital and community services
- Finding caregiver and/or sibling support
- Adjusting to a new diagnosis or new normal
- Managing mental health and wellbeing
- Accessing financial supports
- Preparing for return to home after a hospital stay
- Supporting their child’s transition to adulthood
- Advocating for their family’s needs
Mentors use their experience to: provide information, form meaningful connections, and foster a community of peer support. They represent a diverse range of lived experiences and backgrounds.
Family Mentors receive tailored and in-depth training to ensure that they meet the organizational standards around respecting personal boundaries, privacy, and confidentiality. They also receive training on cross-cultural communication, communicating with empathy, and resource navigation.
Potential benefits of meeting with a Family Mentor or joining the online Family Support Network
- Talk to someone who understands the caregiver experience
- Share your thoughts and feelings in a safe space
- Learn practical tips and strategies that other families have found helpful
- Improve comfort with knowing what services and programs are available at Holland Bloorview
- Increase confidence in speaking up for caregiver and child’s needs
- Access shared resources, ask questions, and connect with families in an online community
At this time, Family Mentors are only available to families and caregivers of current or former Holland Bloorview clients. To have a one-to-one conversation with a mentor:
- Complete the online request form here. The form asks for information about the areas you are seeking to be supported in, as well as your preference for online or in-person mentorship. This information will be kept confidential and will be used to match you with an available mentor.
- After submitting the form, you will be contacted by a member of the Family Leadership Program team to confirm your request. Staff may ask further details about your request.
- Once the Family Leadership Program staff has confirmed your request, they will connect you with one of our trained Family Mentors to arrange the first meeting.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
HB Family Support Network
The HB Family Support Network (FSN) is a private, moderated Facebook group created to provide a sense of community and support for families and caregivers of kids and youth who currently receive or have received services from Holland Bloorview.
This online community:
- Provides a supportive space for families and caregivers to ask questions, share common lived experiences, seek advice and access resources
- Shares information on family workshops, events, practical guidance, resource navigation tips and relevant community resources
To join the HB Family Support Network group
All parents, caregivers, and family members of current and former Holland Bloorview clients are eligible to join. If you do not have a Facebook account, you will need to create one in order to join the group.
- Visit our Family Support Network (here, or scan the QR code below).
- Request to join the group and answer the membership questions.
- An admin will review your request and be in touch if there are additional questions.