Together We 'Hang' is a social program for youth (14-21yrs) on the Autism Spectrum and their peers. Youth with Autism are paired with a volunteer - their peer, for a social gathering fostering inclusion, acceptance and friendship.
“Youth on the Autism Spectrum are often a forgotten group when it comes to social, recreational programs,” says Julie Cashin-Oster, Operations Manager, FOOTPRINTS 4 Autism.
In a survey - after the 12-week pilot in 2015, parents were asked: Do you think your child enjoyed this program? What did your child take from this program? Responses, “Definitely. Learning to socialize with peers better.” “Yes. Had some fun and greater ease with peers.” “Amazing. Maybe more than one day – maybe twice per week.”
In the same survey participants (youth on the Autism Spectrum) were asked: What did you like best about this program? Responses, “Game playing.” “Video games – talking to others about them.”
Do you think you benefited from this program? “Yes.” “Yes, because it helped me make some friends.”
Volunteer comments at the end of the program, “We could do a play for the parents.” “Maybe have this program in the afternoon on weekends during the school year.” “Hope it continues. Loved the kids and the program was amazing. Movie out with the kids was great – had an amazing time, all went well.”
Together We 'Hang' runs in partnership with the Pickering Public Library and the Whitby Public Library. Due to funding constraints we ran the program in 2016 and 2017 for a limited run.
We are asking for program funds and for volunteer training. The cost to run Together We 'Hang' for 12-weeks is $1500. Our goal is to run the program twice a week for 36 weeks in 2018.