Updated: Dec 2, 2021
‘Mitra for life’, with the perfect blend of youngsters with special needs and youth volunteers, is thrilled to launch our very own online youth club. The Youth Club is directed at youngsters between the age of 16 and 30 and with autism or intellectual disabilities. These youngsters get to interact not only with the volunteers but also with their peers through an online platform. The aim of our Youth club, planned for every Saturday, is for youngsters with special needs to make friends, get used to peer interaction and to just have fun! It could be educating or skill building but more towards adding value in their lives.
Due to the pandemic, after community social activities were restricted, we did a program online and called it Socials for Youngsters. The program we ran over summer consisted of 6 children with special needs (16+ years) and college volunteers took revelled in simple activity based programs like theatre, art, fireless cooking, juice making, displaying emotion based on colours, storytelling, etc. Our participants engaged so deeply in all the activities that sometimes, it was hard for us to differentiate the two
groups! Not just that, we noticed a special bond forming between them. The feedback that we received from the parents of the children were that the children were very excited about their sessions, learnt new skills, were confident enough not to need their parents by their side and, last but not the least, their children had social interactions during the lockdown. With these activities, Mitra for Life has changed social perspective and gave the children an equal opportunity and a level playing field to flaunt their talents amongst their peers.
When college students or young professionals volunteer with us, we do not brief them about what to expect. Initially, we recommend that they have icebreaking sessions with the children while we supervise. Once a comfort level has been achieved, interactions become smooth. The Youth Club was always meant to be synergistic. Just like the youngsters with special needs, our college volunteers cherished the experience and believed that this was a great opportunity for them to grow. They embraced the fact that in the age of social media and instant gratification, this experience had given them a deep insight into a different perspective and so, a balanced view of life. These volunteers also become our ambassadors in society to improve awareness about children with special needs.
In the strong words of our founder Dr. Madhuri, there is no limit to what we can accomplish. So if you are a college student or young professional, sign up and jump on the bandwagon to join our adventure. You will end up looking at the world differently. If you run an organisation that helps youngsters with special needs, talk to us and let’s help our youngsters become more social. And if you are a parent, we have only one suggestion, register and be the wind beneath your childrens’ wings...once more!
To join the Youth club@Mitra, please send us a message on 9740093408 or visit www.mitraforlife.org