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NRCIL starting family support group in Lowville

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LOWVILLE — Next month, the Northern Regional Center for Independent Living will start a support group for stress-filled families.

“I just think challenges that families face today are getting increasingly stressful,” said Karen M. Boliver, who heads the nonprofit agency’s Lowville office.

The inaugural meeting of the new group is slated for 10 to 11 a.m. May 21 at NRCIL’s 7632 N. State St. office, with plans to continue meeting on the third Tuesday of each month.

“We’re all interconnected,” Mrs. Boliver said. “I think this is a positive approach to making a better community.”

Kristine K. Eckerson, parent partner at NRCIL, will be heading the new group.

Ms. Eckerson said she oversaw a support group at a previous job and felt it was very effective, in some cases even more so than therapy.

“I got a lot out of it, and so did the consumers in the group,” she said.

Unlike other support groups, this one will be open to any families and won’t focus only on a specific issue like school or medical issues, Mrs. Boliver said.

“Whatever the stressor might be,” Ms. Eckerson said.

The group’s direction and topics for discussion will be dictated by participants, she said.

“There’s a lot going on in the world,” Ms. Eckerson said. “I’m really going to take the lead from group members.”

All families likely have some difficulties they are dealing with, and this group will allow participants to share their experiences and concerns, she said.

“We’re just on different places in the road,” Ms. Eckerson said.

There will be no cost to participate in the group, and people may feel free to attend sessions at any time.

“We’re going to be confidential and respectful,” Ms. Eckerson said.

Along with offering an outlet to air concerns, the group will allow members to counsel each other on situations they have tackled, Mrs. Boliver said.

“It’s a platform for someone to have a voice in an area they may not otherwise have,” Ms. Eckerson said. “Validation is huge.”

Through such interaction, people can discover some of their strengths and how they can be used to help others, Mrs. Boliver said.

“People love to tell their stories,” Ms. Eckerson said.

For more information on the new group, call NRCIL’s Lowville office at 376-8696.

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