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Super Sibs club offers mentorship opportunities

| Monday, September 22, 2014

Notre Dame provides a wide variety of service opportunities in which students can engage, yet one club in particular focuses on a highly-original opportunity. Super Sibs is a service club on campus that allows students who have siblings with disabilities to mentor children in the community who also have siblings with disabilities.

Adam Kourajian, a Notre Dame senior and president of Super Sibs, said the club is one of the most unique clubs on campus.

“It has a — I guess you could say — a bit of a high bar of entry,” Kourajian said. “What we do is we take students who have siblings with physical or mental disabilities … and we work with kids in the South Bend, Mishawaka [and] Michiana areas who also have siblings with disabilities.”

Kourajian said the club was formed several years ago by 2011 Notre Dame alumnus  Soeren Palumbo. The club grants students the opportunity to relate to other children who have a sibling with a disability and act as mentors for the children.

“The whole idea is you know, ‘I’ve been there, I’ve done that,’ … We can talk about the difficulties of perhaps traveling as a family with a disabled sibling or perhaps the difficulties of family reunions, and just awkward social situations and the different sibling dynamic that is often associated with growing up with a sibling with a disability,” Kourajian said.

Kourajian said the club organizes several different activities throughout the year with the children the members mentor.

“We meet up with the kids about five or six times a semester,” Kourajian said. “Our best-received event is when we eat at South Dining Hall with the kids. They love it. Otherwise, we meet up and we do Sib Chats. … We play games with the kids and we also have discussions surrounding the unique family situations that everyone finds themselves in.”

Kourajian said that the club, while focused on the children, is also a worthwhile experience for the students involved.

Elizabeth DeLucia, a sophomore and treasurer of the club, said the club has been a successful and enjoyable extracurricular activity.

“When we get to come together and talk about our experiences growing up with siblings with disabilities, it helps us realize that some of us have very similar experiences,” DeLucia said “It’s a lot of fun. They’re really cute kids, and it’s fun hanging out with them.”

Looking forward, Kourajian said his main focus is advertising and growing the club’s membership.

“[Currently] we have about 10 students in the club, and then we have about 15-20 kids who are there at any given night, ages 7-15.” Kourajian said. “Expansion is my number one goal.”

Kourajian said having a sibling with a disability is necessary in order to relate to the children, but it makes finding students for the club difficult.

“It is such a unique opportunity. If you could do it, I think it would really be a waste if you didn’t do it, both for yourself and the children you could have a positive impact on,” Kourajian said. “Every Notre Dame student wants to do some form of service, right? So, why not do a form of service that you are uniquely qualified to do?”

Kourajian strongly encourages students who have a sibling with a disability to email him at [email protected]

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About Abigail Piper

Abby is a senior majoring in English and minoring in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. She also speaks French, as long as you don't ask her something that requires the subjunctive. Primarily running on coffee, she enjoys St. Louis sports, water-skiing, running and watching/listening to/reading true crime.

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