Parent to Parent Coordinator, Tracie Hoppis, understands the anxiety, worry and exhaustion families can feel from raising a child with special needs.
And it’s not just because she’s been the coordinator of Children’s Village Parent to Parent program, a peer support system for parents and siblings, for the last 12 years.
Tracie empathizes with every parent who walks into her office because she has firsthand experience with those emotions. Her son Andy, 21, a senior at West Valley High School and the Duke of Homecoming has cerebral palsy.
“I remember vividly the tremendous need to talk with another parent who knew what I was feeling,” she said. “Someone who could say, ‘I know, I understand, I remember, and it will get better.’”
Which is exactly how Parent to Parent was conceptualized. Giving parents, caregivers and siblings an inclusive, encouraging and safe place to share, learn, ask questions and more than anything support each other in their journey.
“We know that raising children with special needs impacts the entire emotional well-being of the family, and the Parent to Parent program is special in that it supports the entire family,” Tracie said.
In addition to parent support, the program offers sibling support, recreation and social opportunities, a newsletter, and disability awareness education through the Kids on the Block puppets.
“As a parent, you grow with the diagnosis. You become an advocate, she said. “Where I am today is so different than where I was 19 years ago and I feel like I’m still learning from other parents.”
To learn more and get connected, go to www.yakimachildrensvillage.org today.