BE A PAL TO A PARENT
1. What is the Parent Pal Program?
A program to provide encouragement to parents with sick children.
You will be matched with a specific parent of a sick child. You will communicate with her via emails, phone calls, or regular mail.
This program provides each parent with a friend they can talk to. Reminders from a "parent pal" that someone cares is encouraging to parents who often are isolated from family and friends and overwhelmed with caring for an ill child.
The Parent Pal Program is intended simply to uplift parents who may get discouraged. This is NOT a pen pal program. We do not expect parents to return mail to parent pals. Pals are to provide emotional support to the parent without expecting thanks or anything else in return.
Parents are very, very busy, have a lot on their minds, and are under a great deal of stress. Pals may or may not hear back from their assigned parent, so the general rule is "don't expect to hear from parents." Pals are NOT to ask parents to reply. Knowing that your encouraging notes are making a parent's life a little brighter is enough thanks.
2. How often do pals contact the parent?
At least a couple times a week, and report their contacts to the program administrator. This help coordinators be sure that parents are receiving the encouragement they need, that pals are consistent, and that parents continually have opportunities to be personally involved with someone from our group.
3. Who can participate?
You must be 18 to volunteer as a parent pal.
4. What do I do once I've been assigned a parent?
First of all, be sure you know what your parent is going through before you email them. Learn about the nature of their child's illness (read his/her story on our site.) Send a letter to the parent introducing yourself.
5. Will the parent let me know when their child's situation changes?
Keep track of the update page on a weekly basis. Do not assume the parent will tell you when something changes with their child. If you hear through the group that the child is going through a difficult time, immediately mail the parent and let them know you are aware of the situation, and you are thinking of them. Though we do not expect parents to reply, they may wish to talk to you about their difficulties. Be there for them, if they need someone to listen!
6. What should I write after the first correspondence?
Remind the parent that our group cares and that many people across the country are praying for them. Also, remind the parent that you are their Parent Pal by always signing your correspondences with your first and last name, and "Your Parent Pal" underneath it.
7. Is there anything I SHOULDN'T say to a parent?
ALL CORRESPONDENCES SHOULD BE CHEERY. The parent does NOT need to hear your miseries and problems; you are there to encourage THEM. Be a "buddy" to them. Stay away from politics and opinionated statements. Don't use the phrase, "Hope your child will get well soon," because many of the children have chronic conditions which are not going to go away. Better expressions would be, "I am thinking of you," "I'm sorry you have to go through this." "I wish I could give you a hug," or "Wish I could be there with you."
8. What if I get a parent who needs more support than I can give?
Contact the program administrator and tell her your situation.
9. What if I need to quit the Parent Pal Program?
We understand that sometimes people need to quit. But PLEASE, just contact the program administrator and let her know you need to discontinue being a pal.
10. Who is the Program Administrator and How Do I Contact Her?
To become a parent pal, email Lucel at email@example.com
Remember, you MUST be 18 years old to be a Parent Pal!
If you are under 18 and wish to send art (drawings, stickers, stamped pictures, crafts, etc) and happy mail to the parents and featured children, The "Dabbles and Doodles" program would be perfect for you! Please email Cathie Lehocky and she'll be happy to explain those activities to you.
In life, we must face hardships.
©2006 HugsandHope.org - All rights reserved