In response to the pandemic STEP VA used Zoom to bring our participants together, creating one of our most popular programs. Teen and Adult weekly Connect group meetings are free for participants and are supported by a STEP VA moderator. These groups foster friendship and connectedness while working on social interaction, turn-taking and self-advocacy in the safety of their home environment. In the Adult Connect group, the participants also organize community service projects and quarterly in-person social outings. This type of outward thinking and compassion from our Connect group participants is one of the best outcomes of these online classes.
Parent Connect, which brings together caregivers to share disability information and resources was created in 2021. Led by parent volunteers, the program includes group recommended educational/informational sessions. Social activities and booster-like support of STEP VA programming have grown from the group camaraderie.