2022 Gathering – wrap up

posted in: Events

It’s been a week since we gathered for the first annual gathering “Learning from Each Other” in Nanaimo BC for the first gathering of this new society.

Here are some reflections:

SHARI MONSMA (President of F4CRR): “I am still riding the wave of emotions and inspiration from our Gathering in Nanaimo.  I am so absolutely blown away by all of your stories, compassion, energy, brilliance, openness, and your love.  It was there in that room on Saturday morning when we handed around the talking stick and the magic began to happen.

People felt heard, seen, respected, and supported.  We came together in the most natural and organic way and everyone felt safe enough to share their remarkable stories.  Blessed was one of the many words used to describe the weekend, and I truly feel blessed and honored to be your president.  Each and every one of you is amazing and in that room, I felt as though we were all meant to be there together, the connection was so powerful and real.

Looking at our evaluation forms I believe we all benefited from this weekend and it is my great aspiration to figure out how to get funding so that these can continue.  We need to reach as many kinship caregivers as possible and unite in our common goal to ensure our children and families have all the resources, and support they need to be living their best lives.”

“It was a terrific experience meeting folks from all over and sharing our kid journeys. Love to do it again sometime”

MANDY DODGSHON (attendee and board member):
“So we have just experienced our very first FAIRNESS 4 conference/get-together, I believe we should all be very proud, directors, participants, and of course Jane, staff, and students from Parent Support Services Society. Also gratitude to PSS for funding this lovely experience for us all.

My husband Dave and I have just retired from raising our grandson for the last 19 years so thus our first time attending anything as a couple. You all know I’m sure, the divide and conquer rule if you are lucky enough to have a partner within this very very challenging journey we are all on!  The best statement I can come up with for summarizing our experience is “Finally we truly know we are not alone!”

It was an emotional few days covering a “buffet” of feelings for sure. Empathy, hope, inspiration, partnership, strength, and yes some sadness just to list a few that were heartfelt for us.

What an awesome opportunity to meet you all and my fellow directors for the first time. Truly a gift for all. A big group hug and Thank you to all for gifting us with your participation. See you next time!”

“This was an amazing workshop and the word kinship also covers how I felt among all these amazing and wonderful people! Thank you and all the others who put this together and I look forward to the next time we might be able to get together again.”

Dear Parent Support Services of BC and Shari Monsma, President – Fairness for Children Raised by Relatives,

Sincere thanks for providing me the opportunity to attend the Gathering of the Fairness for Children Raised by Relatives in Nanaimo on June 11 & 12, 2022. I thank all involved in making this amazingly informative conference possible and for assisting with the cost of hotel and transportation. The respite was wonderful!!

I heard many Stories and Sorrows and Joys – the connection was powerful and real!

More of these Gatherings for Grandparents and Kin should be made available throughout British Columbia. We need to reach out to all kinship caregivers to assist them with the Fairness support and to all resources available to them now and, with optimistic changes, in the near future.

Kind regards, Sharon – Kelowna, BC

DAYA CHARCHUN (assistant from PSS)
“My experience over this past weekend in Nanaimo at the Fairness and Parent Support Services conference has been very informative. Coming into the conference I did not know much about what being a kinship caregiver entails and the responsibilities that come with being one. Hearing stories from a diverse range of kinship caregivers such as uncles, aunts, and grandparents brought me to tears. The stories of their advocacy and roles as kinship caregivers showcased the resiliency and passion, they have for the children that they care for. I felt very inspired throughout the whole conference and hearing the hardships that the kinship caregivers go through was deeply saddening.

An important aspect of kinship care I learned over the weekend was the lack of rights for the kinship caregivers. This is something that touched me and made me very emotional. As a student who wants to study law and human rights, I found the stories regarding rights very important and educational. All kinship caregivers should be able to have the same rights as foster parents and I thank PSS and Fairness for their role in communicating this through their advocacy work.

Overall, I am very grateful that I was given the opportunity to attend this weekend’s conference and will take this experience with me throughout my life. I hope my role as community outreach at PSS will be able to communicate the issues and presence of kinship caregivers to the communities of British Columbia. I would like to personally thank Jane, Shari, Bonnie, and the kinship caregivers for making this experience wonderful.”