Birmingham, AL | 17
2019 Award Recipient
After spending more hours than she could count in more waiting rooms than she could remember, Katelyn McInerney realized she wasn’t alone. Each of these waiting rooms were full of kids just like her. Kids who probably also felt powerless, scared, alone, and like no one understood what they were going through as they waited for their siblings to receive the treatment they needed. Added to that, a quick internet search for sibling support groups left Katelyn discouraged. There weren’t any. So she started one. Special Siblings is a non-profit designed to provide a safe space for children with special needs siblings to share their unique circumstances. Katelyn and Special Siblings enlist volunteer experts to facilitate monthly support group meetings designed to create a safe space for expressing emotions and participating in activities to increase understanding and empathy. Through her work, Katelyn is de-stigmatizing mental and physical disabilities.
Katelyn began Special Siblings in response to her own unmet needs for support as a sister to someone with special needs.