#005 – Families Supporting Families, with Sue Simpson

April 3, 2017

families supporting families with sue simpson

Sue Simpson, is the Executive Director of the Waterloo Region Family Network (WRFN), and a parent of a son with exceptionalities. Sue and her team have built the WRFN from the ground up over the last 7 years, all driven by parents. In this podcast episode Sue shares her journey with her own family, with WRFN, and family-to-family mentoring.

The concept of the WRFN started with parents identifying that there was a need for parents to connect with each other. The family journey can often be very isolating, and parents want to be connected with each other.  Sue shares that it is hard for other families (without a family member with a disability) to understand the lives that we live. It is important to reach out to other families that are going through what you are going through.

The WRFN facilitates connections to local resources, supports and connects mentor families with mentee families (the mentor/ mentee relationship is typically parent-to-parent). The WRFN provides training to its mentors to ensure they are good listeners and the conversation is experience based, rather than opinion based. The mentor training also helps mentors to recognize when situations have moved beyond the mentor/ mentee relationship. 

Sue shares the many benefits of family mentor/ mentee relationships, such as increasing social capital, providing emotional support, and shared experiences. Mentors frequently say they are learning every time they support someone, so it isn’t just the mentor getting something positive out of the relationship. 

The WRFN started as an organization facilitating parent-to-parent mentorship, but quickly realized that the need for these connections was much greater in the family unit.  They now facilitate connections with grandparents, siblings, and extended family.

The beauty of the WRFN and other family networks is that they support the whole family for their entire life journey. There is no end date.

What you will learn in this episode:

– Discover family networks

– Learn why families are joining family networks and the benefits they are getting

– Learn how a mentor/ mentee relationship work

– Learn who can benefit from joining a family network

How to contact the Waterloo Region Family Network team:

Website: https://wrfn.info/

E-mail: Katie (family resource coach): [email protected], Sue Simpson: [email protected]

Location: Kitchener/ Waterloo, Ontario, Canada


Evening of Elegance Event: Click Here

Family Alliance Ontario: Click Here

Kitchener/ Waterloo local resources: Click Here

Love & Respect,


The podcast is available on iTunes and Podbean (android) so that you can listen while on the go from your smartphone!

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