ECNV's Young Adult Social Group
By: Michelle Williams and Pansy Walker
The Young Adult Social group started in September 2019 for Western Fairfax and Loudoun Counties serving those with disabilities from the ages of 18-30. Participants voted on and named the group Young Adult Knights. The focus and purpose of the group is to provide and facilitate opportunities for socialization among peers. The group helps those who struggle with anxiety, depression to stay connected and positive. We have participation from Fairfax, Arlington, Loudoun, Fauquier Counties along with the cities of Falls Church, Fairfax and Alexandria. A natural outcome has been friendships, bonds and connections developing within the group structure and flowing over into the daily lives of participants. There are more than 50 group participants in Young Adult Knights.
Young Adult Knights met the 4th Friday of every month at 6pm. The group shared a meal together and then participated in an activity. The connection forged over sharing a meal together was and remains vital to the core of this group. Examples of activities the group has enjoyed are bowling, Monster Mini Golf and Games, a holiday party at a gracious member's home, Thrill Zone etc. In April, due to Covid, we moved the group to a virtual platform. We have a strong participation of 16-20 at each meeting. The group requested to meet twice per month due to the social isolation caused from the quarantine. We have conducted Zoom training sessions with some individual participants to learn how to video conference. During virtual groups, we have enjoyed a variety of games like Hangman, Jeopardy, Would you Rather, Mad libs, etc. We have had a movie night, shared our favorite snacks followed by a discussion. We have even enjoyed Tik Tok together and shared our favorite dance moves. We hosted a Virtual Graduation party for our group's seniors. We share in a monthly birthday celebration together.
The success of this group has garnered great interest, from as far as New York City and FEMA, especially looking for positive amidst the Pandemic.
We are on a hiatus for Summer during the month of August, meeting again September 11th at 6pm. We will continue meeting twice a month virtually. One meeting will be facilitated by ECNV staff and the other will be facilitated by a small group of participants with attendance by ECNV staff. We are excited to see participants stepping up to the plate to take on the facilitation of their group. These are skills they will be able to add to their resume and serve as life skills. As facilitators, Pansy and I are excited about the future and trajectory of this group. Along with continuing activities mentioned previously, we will have special guests and presentations. Some of the groups will focus on education, giving participants an opportunity to discuss social justice issues in our country in a safe space and how to express and be heard in their communities safely and create opportunities to learn how to be the best advocate for themselves and social change. If you have any questions please contact Michelle at email@example.com or Pansy at firstname.lastname@example.org