The Down Syndrome Association of Santa Barbara County is launching a new program opportunity for teens and young adults in the community with special needs.
The Next Chapter Club is a motivating literacy and social skills program that also advocates for community inclusion by breaking down barriers and developing friendships, understanding, admiration and support for teens and young adults with intellectual disabilities. Truly an inspiration to all!
Three or four trained “facilitators” meet weekly with a group of up to eight teens and young adults with intellectual disabilities at a local public location (coffee shop or suitable casual meeting place) to enjoy socializing while discussing a chapter from a book the group selects.
This is highly motivating for participants to read on their own to be prepared to meet with their “club.” Social skills, conversation, speech, reading and comprehension, money skills and making friends are all part of what takes place at each hour-plus weekly meeting.
The benefits are huge for the participants as well as the public observing the interaction, enjoyment and success of our wonderful teens and young adults.
Participants read the same book selection, but at their reading level, as many books are written for a variety of reading levels. All could read the same chapters. A recommended list has been prepared so the content is aligned.
The Down Syndrome Association is actively seeking volunteers and funding for this program. Volunteer training is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 12 in Santa Barbara.
— Melissa Fitch represents the Down Syndrome Association of Santa Barbara County.