The Airport Area has a new social group for young adults on the Autism Spectrum who are high functioning. The name of the program is TGIF Adult Social Group/HF. For the uninitiated, TGIF stands for “Thank Goodness It’s Friday” and the HF indicates “high functioning” on the Autism Spectrum. This name was chosen to express the common feeling most young people have about weekends when they look forward to gathering socially with friends.
The purpose of TGIF is to provide an opportunity for young adults to gather together for casual interaction in a setting that is easy and non-threatening for those that find socializing difficult. Social isolation is one of the saddest aspects of Autism where educated and talented individuals end up spending their free time alone or on the internet because they lack the innate skills to function well in most social settings.
The Sharon Community Presbyterian Church is providing access to their Youth Community Center (YCC) lounge every Friday evening from 7 – 9 PM for young adults ages 18 – 40 to gather for sharing food, fun and fellowship. The YCC lounge is housed in a white building located in the side parking lot of the Sharon Church directly across from the Nissan Car Dealership. The address is 522 Carnot Road in Moon Township, PA 15108. To access the building drivers make a hard right off of University Blvd and drive up around the church building to enter the side parking lot. The lounge offers a wide range of video and board games for people to play while spending time getting to know each other better. TGIF’s activities will ultimately reflect the interests of the participants and hopefully will expand with membership.
TGIF is sponsored by Aboard (Advisory Board on Autism Related Disorders) an advocacy group for Autism active in western PA and Kaleidoscope Family Services is an agency in Carnegie, PA that can provide support for any issues that participants may need help addressing. The TGIF Group Coordinator is Terry Doughty a member of Sharon Community Presbyterian Church. If you have questions about TGIF you can e-mail TGIF.ASGroup@gmail.com.
It is imperative to raise community awareness about the formation of TGIF so the public knows of the group’s existence and to encourage participation. The development of HIPPA regulations designed to protect people’s privacy complicates contacting individuals directly making the success of the group dependent on word of mouth and other forms of public communication. If you are a high functioning young adult on the Autism Spectrum plan on stopping in some Friday night to check out the new program. If you know someone who is a good fit for TGIF be sure to let them know there is a great place for them to hang out every weekend. TGIF Adult Social Group/HF stands for food, fun and fellowship on Friday nights from 7 – 9 PM at the YCC lounge of the Sharon Community Presbyterian Church in Moon.