Happy Holidays from all of us at ICS!
We hope that you are celebrating the season and bringing in the New Year with loved ones.
This year, we are celebrating partnering with close to 300 individuals with disabilities as they reach their employment and independent living goals. However, this season has also brought to light a critical issue that our community is facing: the growing epidemic of loneliness.
When ICS began working with Andy in 2015, he was isolated, didn’t have a support network and was about to lose his job because of lack of attention and motivation.
Brian, an ICS team member, worked with Andy to create a plan to move him out of isolation. The Video Games Club was formed, and ICS clients who were experiencing loneliness and depression but shared a love for gaming began to meet.
"Because of game club, I've made friends I wouldn't have made otherwise, and feel like I'm able to tackle many different kinds of social situations. I no longer feel nervous when meeting new people." -Andy
Today, the group considers themselves close friends. Andy leads the club and calls members with a reminder each week. Andy is now excelling at his job, and he is learning financial literacy as he saves some of his income for new games for the club. The entire group has reported higher self-esteem, confidence and happiness, which has a ripple effect in their personal and professional lives. ICS now offers Video Games Club twice per week, and there is so much demand that a third night is underway.
In September, former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy began the conversation about the epidemic of loneliness and the devastating impact it’s having on our health.
Over 40% of adults report being lonely. Loneliness has the same detrimental impact that is caused by smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and has a greater effect on life span than obesity.
We believe that the opposite of isolation is integration. When individuals with disabilities connect with their peers and their community, we all thrive.
That is why ICS offers nine Social Clubs where our clients make friends, develop healthy hobbies and fight isolation. Our clubs focus on mental, physical and emotional health through activities such as hiking, cooking and art.
Because of the crucial need in our community, the number of Social Clubs we offer has tripled in the past year, but we don’t have all of the resources we need to fully realize the impact of this program.
How You Can Help End Isolation
$50 allows someone like Andy to participate in four Social Club meetings.
$150 will purchase a much-needed item for a club. Last month the Video Games Club needed a new TV, and it was through a generous donation that we made that happen.
$500 provides all of the materials, snacks, tickets and transportation for all of our clubs for one month. That’s 60 people who will be able to get out and be social in their community for an entire month.
$1,000 will make you the official sponsor of one club for a full year. You can select which club you would like to sponsor, or let us apply it to the club with the highest need.