participation is an important part of living a happy, meaningful life. Whether
it’s giving back, attending local events, joining a club or team, or just being
able to browse the neighborhood shops, people need to feel connected to their
community—they need to feel they belong.
with disabilities already face additional barriers to community participation,
from a lack of inclusive programs to accessibility issues to a lack of
understanding about disability. And COVID-19 has only added to the challenge.
it’s still important—perhaps now more than ever—to keep your loved one active
and engaged with the outside world. Here are a few ideas:
or host a fundraiser
you can’t get hands-on in the community, but you can still make a difference.
Get a group of friends and family to collect items you can donate to a local
organization or food pantry. Or use the power of social media to raise money
for a cause you believe in. Not only will the project bring you together with
others who share your values, but you’ll feel good knowing you supported your
community. Make sure you pay an in-person visit to the organization when it’s safe
to do so again.
up for e-Buddies
is a free program designed to create
social inclusion for people with IDD. All you have to do is sign up and you’ll
be matched with a pen pal with whom you can enjoy a one-on-one email
friendship. Bonus: being an e-Buddy will help promote technology literacy and
increase confidence communicating online, both of which are important skills
for students and jobseekers.
an online class or club—or start your own
are a wealth of opportunities to connect with people who share your interests
online. For instance, those who enjoy fitness can sign up for virtual exercise classes designed for people of
all abilities. Or you can check out this disability-themed online book club. Cooking, music,
crafting—you name it, you can probably find it. Or, if nothing fits the bill,
start your own club with a friend or family member. Even if you’re only able to
meet virtually, you’ll still benefit from sharing a hobby with likeminded
people, and the skills and knowledge you’ll gain will be just as beneficial
Staying connected to your community—whether in person or online—is an important part of living a healthy, engaged life. And even though COVID-19 has brought extra challenges, with a little creativity, you and your loved one can find ways to stay active in—and even continue building—your own community.