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Autism Connections Fredericton is offering some exciting Adult Services. Listed and detailed below are 3 virtual programs being offered to support and coach adults into obtaining independence in their search for employment while connecting them with a job bank of inclusive employers. In addition, they are offering an Employment Support Group with a first-voice facilitator. This group is exciting because it lends an opportunity for autistics to connect, mentor, and support one another in navigating the world of work as an autistic person. Group members can be gainfully employed, currently looking for work, or just preparing to dip their toes in for the first time, which we all know can be intimidating and comes with many questions.
We have had the opportunity to offer mentoring to 12 youth and work on several Community projects through UVARC’s Centre and funding by the United Way of Central NB.
The first project they worked on was they had to find a senior citizen in their community that has had a difficult time during covid 19 and the pandemic. They made a list of items that they wanted to put into a wellness kit for them. We had 12 individuals that chose a senior, it may have been a neighbor that had lost a loved one during the pandemic, a grand parent or someone in their community Church family that they knew that was struggling more because of life during the pandemic. Items were purchased and each youth got to go to our made up store to add $50 worth of items into the wellness kit for their special senior. They delivered it and got to see the smiles first hand on the seniors that were given a wellness kit. We got lots of great feedback on that project and I believe it gave our youth a connection with their communities too.
The next project was to help out our local SPCA’s & rescue shelters. Each youth was given a $25 gift card to purchase some needed items for the non profit organizations that have a greater need during the pandemic. The youth had fun spending the money on pet items to donate. We found 4 SPCA’s in our support area and we have delivered the packages after we added even more items to make up the 4 packages. The youth also had fun sorting the items into 4 different baskets until they overflowed with goodies to donate. This project will make a connection for the future when they are old enough to volunteer and maybe even get employed at the shelters.
Our next project is a special gift for individuals with cancer within our communities. All the youth have planted a plant with inspirational quotes on the pots to give to local individuals that are fighting cancer, are survivors and to families that may have lost a family member during the pandemic to cancer. I believe in our area we have far more cancer than covid hit our communities and we wanted to make a connection with our youth to show them how simple gestures can lift spirits when they may not be getting as much of a connection during this time as usual. Covid has made us all feel less of a physical connection but we are all still cheering each other on in the sidelines for a little while longer.
We are so happy to have had this opportunity to show our youth how to make little connections in their communities with people that are struggling more, to think of others to get our minds somewhat off our own troubles and to be able to reach out to our fellow neighbors and ask them how they are doing and do a simple little thing to make someone’s day more special. Thank you to the United Way of Central NB for making these projects possible and letting us offer a mentoring program with growing youth to set a great example and become a mentor/friend with our youth with ASD. Spread the word on how amazing our youth really is and educate, accept and make aware to others about all their abilities, talents and strengths they all have to show.