Brotherly and Sisterly Love


By Mary Stanley, PR and
Marketing Coordinator, Mary Stanley

“Siblings – the definition that comprises love, strife, competition and forever friends” – Byron Pulsifer

There is no question that the bond between siblings is a special one.  They are the link to our past and the ones most likely to be with us in the future. Who else but a sister or brother has known us from our very youngest self to our present? We cheered for them, shared our secrets with them, celebrated with them and grieved with them. We have seen them at their best and their worst. Siblings are the people we teased and fought with as children and then made up with; they are the people we protected and defended, because they were, above all else, family.

Oftentimes, our siblings are our first friends. Do you remember playing hide and seek with your brothers and sisters or building a tent made of blankets in the family room? Your siblings most likely played an integral part in your development and in shaping the person you are today.

Being the sibling of a child with intellectual and developmental disabilities certainly has an impact on the dynamics of the relationship. Researchers are learning, however, that with some of the challenges that come with being the sibling of a person with disabilities also come some great opportunities and benefits. According to PsychCentral, psychologists used to assume that having a child with a disability at home was damaging to the other members of the family. Though there is some stress associated with such a relationship, it can have a powerfully positive impact on the non-disabled sibling. “It can lead instead to creative problem solving and personal growth. Children who have disabled siblings can gain a greater appreciation of the value of different kinds of people and become more understanding of human differences.”

According to Psychology Today, the difficult circumstance of having a brother or sister with disabilities may also have some positive outcomes. “These siblings often develop certain positive characteristics such as self-control, cooperation, empathy, tolerance, altruism, maturity, and responsibility as a result of dealing with their family situation. They may develop loyalty and a protective attitude towards their sibling. In some cases these siblings use someone’s attitude about special needs as a test for screening friends and mates. Their involvement with their sibling may even lead them to choose future occupations in the helping professions.”

In June, we celebrated Siblings Day at New England Village, and as in the past, it proved to be one of the happiest days here for our residents. From working on art projects together to just visiting with one another, the day was filled with love, laughter, and friendship. After all, there is nothing better than spending the day with a brother or sister, the one who knows and loves you best.

We invite you to tell us about a special memory of your sibling or to share with us how having a sibling with a disability impacted your life.

You Can’t Beat A Drum Circle!

By Mary Stanley, PR and
Marketing Coordinator, Mary Stanley

If there is any question about the benefits of a drum circle, it was answered this past month when music instructor Sean Carr brought his djembe drums to Pembroke Library for a community drumming workshop. This all inclusive circle, which brought together people from the community with individuals from New England Village, had the same results as previous drumming events: lots of laughter, lots of participation, and a little bit of noise!

As Sean so eloquently states at the beginning of each of his circles, everybody has rhythm. If you have a heartbeat, you have rhythm—and then he goes on to Continue reading

The Benefits of Buying Early

By Mary Stanley, PR and
Marketing Coordinator, Mary Stanley

As the calendar changes over to April, our thoughts may turn to spring and the gardening season. Though I do not have a garden of my own, I have a deep and profound appreciation for vegetables that are locally—and organically—grown. This appreciation was instilled in me by my grandfather, an avid gardener who grew a large variety of vegetables and whose bounty filled our dinner tables from July to November. Continue reading

There’s Nothing Down About It

A blog post by PR and Marketing Coordinator, Mary Stanley

On March 1st, we ushered in the campaign to “spread the word to end the word,” referring to the use of the “R” word.  This designated date fittingly rolls into a month-long promotion to raise awareness of Down syndrome. While most people are aware of this disability—and I use the term disability here, loosely—what we really need to stress this month are the abilities of people born with an extra chromosome. Continue reading

The Sollar Wellness Center – Your Health is our Mission

Mary StanleyA blog post by PR and Marketing Coordinator, Mary Stanley

February can be a difficult month—usually cold and snowy—providing little motivation to stick to New Year goals and resolutions to stay fit, take better care of ourselves or to try something new. But thanks to community centers like the Sollar Wellness Center, getting healthy or stepping outside of our comfort zone to try new things, whether it’s a fitness program or an art class, has never been easier. Continue reading

A New Year and a Fresh Start

A blog post by PR and Marketing Coordinator, Mary Stanley

New Year’s Eve signifies the end of one year and the start of another—it is a time for reflecting on all that has occurred over the past 12 months and then looking toward the future with a renewed sense of optimism. For many people, 2016 may have been a difficult year—one that was fraught with difficulties or loss and 2017 represents a fresh start and a time to be filled with the hope that the next 12 months will be better than the last. Continue reading

In the Spirit of the Holidays

Mary StanleyA blog post by PR and Marketing Coordinator, Mary Stanley

With the holiday season well underway, it is difficult not to think about the spirit of giving and what that truly means. I remember as a child, carefully selecting items for the people on my list and being genuinely excited about giving the gifts I had chosen. Those memories serve as a reminder to me of what this season is really about—the sincere desire to give something special to someone for the sole purpose of letting that person know I care. Because of those experiences earlier in my Continue reading

Autumn: A time to celebrate family

Mary StanleyA blog post by PR and Marketing Coordinator, Mary Stanley

For many of us, the end of August marks a time when our children take that step into the next phase of their lives and go off to college. After moving them into their dorms and saying tearful good byes, the next time we get to see them may not be until Family weekend, typically scheduled for October or early November. When we come to visit at that time, we will see a change in them; they will have acclimated and adjusted to their new life, made new friends, and found a place where they are truly happy. They will be excited to share stories with us and we will find ourselves thoroughly enjoying our conversations with them. Continue reading

Art: A Reflection of Humanity

Mary StanleyA blog post by PR and Marketing Coordinator, Mary Stanley

While it is always inspiring  to see people participate in the annual Art is for Everyone event, this year it was especially moving and exciting to see people of all ages, abilities, and talent levels work together to create a piece that is both beautiful and a true reflection of the community.

Three years ago, New England Village joined forces with Cardinal Cushing Centers, Friendship Home, and South Shore YMCA to host a fun, art-focused event called Art is for Everyone. The mission of this event is to provide an opportunity to members of the community—those with and without disabilities—to  create pieces of art Continue reading