I recently heard about a great program that has my son’s name written all over it! (Naturally, when I told him this, he literally looked for his name written all over the program page. It wasn’t there :))
Contrary to popular belief, my son can be very social. By social, I mean friendly and open-hearted when meeting new people. However, if after an introduction the conversation doesn’t revolve around computer code or video games, there is an awkward disconnect.
He has friends all over the world that he Skypes with. Yes, I’ve seen the video chats and know 100% that his friends are real kids his age and not some creepy 50 year-old man pretending to like Minecraft! J has been hacked before and that was super scary!
Anyway, our problem is that my kids homeschool and I work outside of the home part of the time. We miss a lot of homeschool gatherings due to my hours, leaving my kids little opportunities to meet peers. Additionally, being a single parent, I tried to apply for Big Brothers Big Sisters for my son so he has a positive male role model in his life. I was told there was a 4+ year-long waiting list. Whoa! Seriously?
That’s why I was absolutely THRILLED to see this come across my inbox. Although this post refers to the Atlanta chapter, you can go to their website to see if there are programs in your area, as it is an international organization.
The Best Buddies program connects individuals that have intellectual or development disabilities with students from Emory. Each participant will be matched with either one or two Emory students to form a “buddy pair/trio.” The program encourages buddies to contact each other several times a month in addition to hanging out at chapter events. You can also request that your son or daughter to be matched in a same-gender pair.
Once paired with a Buddy, they meet as a chapter once a month during the school year for activities such as movie screenings, arts and crafts, field days and more. Events are typically held on Sunday afternoons on or near Emory’s campus, located in Druid Hills. These usually last for two hours. The first event will likely be in mid-September.
As a result of their involvement with Best Buddies, people with IDD secure rewarding jobs, live on their own, become inspirational leaders, and make lifelong friendships.
Online registration for the 2014-2015 school year is now open. If you are interested, you may register your son or daughter to participate by clicking this here (select Emory University as the chapter).
If you are interested in volunteering, click here.
I will be reporting back on J’s progress once the program is in full swing! Perhaps I will see you there.