Jessica Goldberg, 18, of Farmington Hills, Michigan, a senior at North Farmington High School, is the founder of “Sib4Sib,” a support network for the siblings of people who struggle with mental health or have developmental or cognitive differences. “Siblings have no resources in the mental health community, but they are just as affected as the rest of the family,” Jessica said. So she decided to create a resource herself: a network to provide support groups, social events, networking opportunities and an advocacy voice for people who have a sibling struggling with mental health.
The main component of Sib4Sib is support groups for children ages 6 to 18, where, with the help of a licensed mental health professional, they can discuss their feelings, deal with negativity and learn coping skills. As the founder and board president, Jessica is in charge of the day-to-day operations, leads brainstorming and focus group sessions, manages partnerships, develops support group agendas, designs promotional material, oversees fundraising committees and serves as the public face of the organization. Recently, Jessica won an award with a prize of $36,000, which she will use to hire an executive director. She said she will remain president of her board after she leaves for college next year, and plans to start a chapter at her new school when she arrives. “Sib4Sib has created a support network where there was nothing before,” Jessica said. “By creating a community where there was none before, Sib4Sib has reduced the stigma and also empowered teens and children to own their story and feel less isolated and more supported.”