Making Healthy Connections is a group mentoring program that empowers youth with disabilities (14 to 22 years old) to understand their health care needs, access community resources, and connect with peers. The programs meets twice monthly during the school year.
At program meetings, youth meet new friends and mentors who demonstrate how to lead active, healthy lifestyles. They also participate in skills trainings, interactive discussions, role-playing, guest speaker presentations, games, and adaptive recreational activities.
Parents of youth participants have the option of participating in our Parent Group meetings, which are held at the same time and location as Youth Group meetings. Parent Group meetings provide a chance for parents to connect with each other and learn more about disability-related issues and resources.
Making Healthy Connections participants will:
Gain a greater understanding of their disabilities and/or special health care needs
Build positive communication skills for use in health care settings, home, school, and the community
Develop strategies for taking responsibility of their health care
Learn how to access community resources to help them transition to adult health care
Explore healthy lifestyle options in order to increase knowledge and enhance opportunities for maintenance of health
Youth participants must be between the ages of 14 and 22 years old and have a disability
Must complete application process, which includes written application and consent forms
Must arrange for own transportation and plan to attend all scheduled meetings and events
| Youth Application|
"The parent group gave me a needed break and when I realized that all of the other parents have children with disabilities, something changed. My son and I have been alone all of this time. If ever for even a moment any person that is involved in your program has a doubt, please, remind them that our lives were changed in the first three hours." ~Parent
"My son has grown significantly since joining this program. He has made many new friends, friends who face the same challenges. He has also seen firsthand the successes of his peers, and has realized that people with disabilities can do anything; they may just do them differently." ~Parent