League Offers Social Outlet for Young Adults with Developmental Disabilities and Allows Peer Participants to Give Back to the Community
All About Developmental Disabilities (AADD), an Atlanta-based advocacy group focusing on developmental disabilities issues, is launching its 2015 bocce ball season for young adults currently in Roswell, Sandy Springs, Johns Creek and Woodstock. The program connects people with developmental disabilities to those without, in the 18 to 40 age range.
“Young people with developmental disabilities often become socially isolated in their twenties, so it’s important that they have opportunities to interact with people their own age that will bring them back into the community,” says Michael Stinson, Manager of Health and Wellness for AADD. “For people without disabilities, this is a great opportunity to give back to their communities and build their own awareness of the challenges faced by those who live with disabilities every day.
- Roswell: Thursdays, 6:30 - 8 p.m., Grimes Bridge Park, 830 Grimes Bridge Rd., Roswell
- Sandy Springs: Saturdays, 10 - 11:30 a.m., BRIO Tuscan Grille, 700 Ashwood Pkwy, Dunwoody
- Woodstock: Thursdays, 6:30 - 8 p.m., J.J. Biello Park, 250 Brooke Blvd., Woodstock
- Johns Creek: Tuesdays, 6:30 - 8 p.m., Newtown Park, 3150 Old Alabama Rd., Johns Creek
Young people with developmental disabilities typically graduate from high school at 21, and over the next few years their group of high school friends diminishes as their peers head off to college or careers. By the time they hit 25, their social network has all but vanished, opportunities for making new friends are limited, and time not spent working is usually spent at home. It can be a very isolating time.
With that in mind, Stinson says the most important thing about the playing isn’t the final score, but the camaraderie and fellowship that develops from working on a team together.
“We picked bocce ball because it’s portable and easy, but the games aren’t what is really important,” Stinson says. “It is the meeting each other, saying hello, and chatting during the game that is really going to make a difference.“
AADD stresses that peer participants are crucial to the success of the program, anticipating that they will comprise about 60 percent of each group.
About the Bocce Ball League:
- Groups are offered in four cities: Roswell, Sandy Springs, Woodstock, Johns Creek
- Preferred age range for participants is 18 - 40
- 16-20 people per group
- Each “season” will be about six months. Groups meet 2 - 3 times a month for one and a half hours.
- Peer participants will be offered a brief training on developmental disabilities
- To register, email Michael Stinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (404) 809-2922, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AllAboutDevelopmentalDisabilities/events
About All About Developmental Disabilities
Founded in 1956, All About Developmental Disabilities (AADD) is an Atlanta-based non-profit organization dedicated to providing family support, advocacy and training opportunities for individuals and families living with developmental disabilities.
Developmental disabilities are defined as severe chronic intellectual and/or physical disabilities that limit three or more critical functional abilities. Examples include Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, autism disorders, fetal alcohol disorders and intellectual disabilities. These disabilities manifest early in life (before age 22) and last a lifetime.
Georgia relies on a disjointed system of services and support that cannot be sustained long-term. Economic uncertainties are reducing funding support, even as the number of people in need increases. AADD offers a range of services focusing on Family Support, Public Policy and Advocacy and Community Engagement. For more information, go to www.AADD.org or call us at (404) 881-9777.
Mitch Leff, Leff & Associates, (404) 861-4769, email@example.com
Sarah Douglas, Leff & Associates, firstname.lastname@example.org