What is the Hand Over Hand Social Group?
We facilitate a Social Group in which youth of all abilities are invited to come out and participate in community activities organized by the Hand Over Hand executives.
Social Group activities take place in the summer on alternating weekends, and once every 1-2 months through out the fall/winter months. Each year, there are at around 10-15 volunteers who are trained in working with people (and especially youth) with disabilities or special needs. The number of volunteers depends on the number of children enrolled in our program, so it is important to enroll with us early!
All activities are local community activities, situated primarily in the Markham and Richmond Hill areas of York Region!
The types of activities and places we have done and gone to before include (but are not limited to):
- Markham Bowl: bowling alley
- Putting Edge: glow-in-the-dark mini golf
- Dave and Busters: arcade and restaurant
- The Glaze Craze Ceramics Studio: pottery painting studio
- HOH Garage Sale: members are involved in fund-raising initiatives
- Toogood Pond, Carlton Park, Centennial Park: picnic at the parks
- Alice Fazooli's and Boston Pizza: HOH end of summer and winter holiday luncheons
This group is intended for youth in the community to have fun together, regardless of ability. We understand that parents need time for themselves, youth need to spend time with friends, and also that social groups like these are difficult (and expensive!) to find. Hand Over Hand would like to help families and their children with disabilities through our interactive, local social events!
How Do I Join the Hand Over Hand Social Group?
You must contact us if you would like to (have your child) join in on our activities, through our email at email@example.com. Then we will send you a link to the Hand Over Hand Online Member Form that you must fill out about your child. All the information on this form is confidential, it is password-protected, and we do not release any of this information to anyone else other than the volunteers we recruit for the summer. We try to match one volunteer with one child, based on interests, personality, and experience levels (of the volunteer). This group is fully based on volunteer work, but for some activities (like bowling or mini-golf), you would have to provide us with the funds to cover your child's admission and food. Our activities usually last for about 2 hours and we would ask you to drop your children off at the area in which we are doing our activities.
What is a Hand Over Hand Social Group Event like?
First, you must enroll your child in the Hand Over Hand Social Group and fill out the member form, as we have stated above. Once this process is complete, we will send you information, always through email, about any upcoming events. Usually we send out event details and planning around a week in advance, and we send out a tentative schedule of the events as well.
For example, let's say the first event you will attend is Markham Bowl.
1. Executives will send out an email of where (e.g. Markham Bowl), how long (e.g. 2 hours), how much money is required (e.g. $6) and when (e.g. 3pm) we will all meet, maps, and phone numbers in case you need to contact one of us in an emergency.
2. Parents will need to reply to this email a day before the date of the event. So if the event is on July 13, you must reply by (at the latest) July 12, or we will consider your reply uncounted.
3. Parents must drive their children to Markham Bowl, where the HOH executives and volunteers will be waiting for everyone's arrival.
4. Parents must provide their children with any funds needed to cover the event. Since we are a volunteer group for youth with special needs, we usually get amazing discounts. For example, Markham Bowl lets HOH bowl for $3 a game, and we do two games. So parents will provide their child with around $6 plus any other money their children may need for snacks.
5. At 5pm (in this example), parents will have to come to pick up their children from the event, and volunteers and executives will talk to the parents about how it went, if there were any problems, or even if there were funny stories!
6. A week after this event happens, we will be sending out another email for the second event, and this process repeats itself! We will also be notifying parents about the access to the photos of the past event.
Keeping in touch with the Social Group throughout the year
During the school year, the Pen Pal Program is run in lieu of the Social Group in which a volunteer and a member of Hand Over Hand are paired up to write letters or emails to each other. If you are interested in this program, you can talk to us at the end of the social group events.
If you have any questions at all about any aspect of the Social Group, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!