Johnston County mom plans social group for teens and young adults with autism
Ramos is launching the first JoCO Social Group for Teens & Young Adults with Autism. The kick-off meeting is set for 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 1, at Christ Community United Methodist Church, 1082 Amelia Church Rd. in Clayton.Posted — Updated
"I know the struggles a teen can face just trying to make friends, especially at a time like this, when they’re even more isolated than normal,” Ramos says. “As social beings, we all need others with whom to share interests, likes and challenges.”
That's why Ramos is launching the first JoCo Social Group for Teens & Young Adults with Autism. The kick-off meeting is set for 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 1, at Christ Community United Methodist Church, 1082 Amelia Church Rd. in Clayton. The gathering will take place outside and will follow all health and safety guidelines.
The goal is to provide a safe and fun space for teens and young adults, ages 16 to 24, with autism where they can make friends. Parents and caregivers can drop off or stay at a lounge onsite. Volunteers will help guide activities, which will include a devotional, snacks and games.
Ramos, a mom of two in Smithfield, has served as program coordinator for the Hispanic Ministry at the church for 17 years. Her 19-year-old son, a student at Johnston Community College who hopes to become a linguist, has autism.
I checked in with her to learn more about the social group, which is sponsored and organized by the church's Hispanic ministry. Here's a Q&A. (And to RSVP or ask questions, parents and caregivers should RSVP by calling Ramos at 919-464-1298 or emailing SGTYA.CC@gmail.com.)
While we began plans early in the year, the pandemic affected our launch date. However, all the volunteers felt strongly that teens and young adults with autism would feel more isolated than ever and this group was also more needed than ever. As social beings, we all need others with whom to share interests. We aim to create a safe place for everyone to relax, have fun and make meaningful connections. No one should have to ‘go it alone.’ That is the goal of this social group: companionship.
We will use the soccer field next to the church for the meeting. Everyone's temperature will be checked, face coverings will be provided and all materials and food will be disinfected and/or individually wrapped.
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