Friday, July 12, 2024

Catching up with Connie

Since being named one of CNN’s top 10 heroes in 2012, Connie Siskowski has continued to make positive changes in the community—including her newest initiative—a curriculum manual to help more kids who are caregivers develop and prepare for their futures. Siskowski is the founder of the American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY): a non-profit corporation that began in 2002 to aid the children who provide care for family members in need due to illness, injury or age. AACY aims to shed light on the caregiving youth and provide them with the resources they need to make their lives easier.

“We should be taking care of the children, they should not be taking care of adults,” Siskowski said.

The American Association of Caregiving Youth has created curriculum used in skills-building groups in schools in Palm Beach County. The classes educate the children on improving their communication abilities, stress management and career planning.

The curriculum manual has been copyrighted, so the next step is to get it published and distributed. The goal is to utilize these guides to help more children develop and prepare for their futures. Siskowski is passionate about growing AACY and excited for this comprehensive, practical component.

When asked about her favorite part of her work, Siskowski did not hesitate. “Watching the kids grow and bloom, and being able to help them along the way to see them succeed,” she said.

Another new initiative is called Mentor A Caregiving Youth (MACY). The program pairs an adult mentor with a caregiving youth member to serve as a personal guidance counselor and a friend. The mentor/mentee relationship truly makes a difference in the lives of all parties involved.

As for upcoming plans, Siskowski hopes to continue to raise awareness about the growing numbers of caregiving youth in Palm Beach County and to expand programming throughout the United States. Incorporating the medical community in AACY’s efforts, developing new partnerships and continuing research are all on Siskowski’s to-do list.

If you are interested in becoming involved with AACY, you can help by becoming a mentor, assisting in the office, using social media to spread the word, sharing personal stories or aiding in the fundraising process.

For more information about the American Association of Caregiving Youth, visit aacy.org.

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About Jackie

Jackie Smith is a junior at the University of Florida majoring in public relations and minoring in leadership, who is interning at Boca Magazine this summer. She is a reality television fiend with an insatiable sweet tooth and a passion for all things beauty. Discovering new places and meeting new people inspire this Boca Raton native. You can reach Jackie at jackiesmith@bocamag.com.

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