Social "U" is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that was specifically created to provide a social outlet for adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities once they have aged out of the educational system. Our organization is filling a void for these individuals by providing a social outlet in a non-judgmental, safe, group setting of their peers. It gives them a chance to connect with old friends and make new friends.
Social "U" started in May of 2015, our first meeting was very successful in having 32 new members attend, over the pasts seven years our group has grown to over 175 members and continues to grow! Not all members attend each meeting, on the average we have approximately 100 in attendance including caregivers.
Each month we meet has a different theme, but basically the same format. We first gather and have an "open floor" where any member wishing to share a story, upcoming event or anything else exciting has the opportunity to do so. During this time they have the opportunity to have the full attention of the group to share their story. This has been a great confidence builder for many of our members that would typically be timid or scared to speak in large groups, but our group is different, our group is AMAZING and there is no judgement! Also during "open floor" time, we announce birthdays and sing to those members, announce future events and tell a joke or two and introduce new members. Once we have finished with open floor time we move on to the theme of the evening, either playing games, having dances or doing community give-back projects. We strive to make sure we have activities for all abilities at each meeting so no one is ever left out.
Although our group is for an AMAZING group of individuals, we also believe that we should give back to the community. With that belief in mind we have done multiple community give back projects over the years. To name a few, we decorated wooden Christmas trees and coffee mugs and delivered them to residents at the Tuscola County Medical Care Facility, made special thank you cards and gift baskets for local veterans, made spring floral arrangements for residents at a local nursing home, and most recently we adopted a highway.
Our group is also involved in community involvement events. The past two years our members have served cider and donuts at Gingerbread Village in Caro. Our group has participated in the Pumpkin Festival Parade by building a float and being in the parade. We have won first place with the amazing float the members helped to build for three years in a row. One of our favorite outings is the Loon's game that we go to in August.
We are super excited about the future of our group and expanding it to surrounding areas. Our newest group has started in Saginaw County and we couldn't be more excited to bring this program there and serve the members of the Saginaw County community.