Unleashing creativity, building connections, and celebrating a memorable birthday

Young man from Social Connect holding his ABC book he created
Pictured: Adam (also known as Scooby) and his Cartoon Network book he made. 

Adam, a participant of Gateways Social Connect program, eagerly awaiting his next event after a memorable ABC-themed birthday party. Living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Adam has been actively engaged in various programs at Social Connect since starting with Gateways in 2021.

Gateways has had a profound impact on Adam’s life. Danny, Adam’s dad says, “I think it actually did enhance him quite a bit because of the variety that is offered for his weekly participation. The wide range of activities available to Adam has been important, but even more so, are the friendships he’s created that have enriched his social life.”

Hannah, the Site Coordinator of Social Connect, talks about Adam’s journey, saying, “Adam participates in a variety of programs at Social Connect such as Bounce, indoor sports at Try Boys basketball stadium, gym, café culture, shopping, and creative programs where he makes characters/props for his upcoming birthday. He also enjoys using public transport to the library, bowling, and attending the social outing every Friday where we go to different locations each week.”

Young man standing in front of his art creation

Pictured: Adam standing in front past art he has created. 

“Like each participant, Adam is supported appropriate to his needs while he attends Social Connect,” she adds. “The time and effort that staff put in is to ensure that Adam’s programs include independence building, relationship development, and the freedom to make choices.”

A standout moment in Adam’s journey was his 2023 birthday celebration. Months of planning went into the themed celebration centred around the ABC. Adam’s creativity shone as he designed costumes and assigned character names to staff and participants. He was Tinky Winky from the Teletubbies.

Young man holding A Scooby Doo Shirt He Made

Pictured: Adam and the costume he has made for his party. 

What makes these events truly special is the sense of community at Gateways. Participants and staff come together to support and celebrate Adam. Last year’s celebration was a day filled with laughter and friendship, finishing with Adam treating everyone to a fun dance routine.

Social Connect allows participants like Adam to enjoy diverse activities, access support and socialise in an inclusive and safe environment. See more here.