The last 14 months have been challenging for everyone, but more specifically, for the clients of Inland Regional Center. Hi! I’m Stephen Donahue, Consumer Advocate for the Inland Regional Center and a member of the Consumer Advisory Committee (CAC).
During this past year, I organized The CAC Hangouts, a virtual event catered to our clients, where their voices can be heard and their wants and needs are at the forefront. As a Consumer Advocate, one of my roles is to produce fun, entertaining, and informative events. Early last year, when the pandemic started, the CAC stopped producing and cancelled all events that were already in the works, for the safety of our clients. That’s when I was tasked with creating an online event that would engage our clients. On April 22nd, 2020, the “CAC Hangouts” was born! Ever since that day, it has been a safe and fun place, where clients can log on and interact with one another, along with myself and the other advocates of IRC for about 1-2 hours every Thursday afternoon. I have seen a tremendous growth in participation since its initiation!
What the hangouts do best, is get clients to communicate and grow, not only with new friends, but with a newfound confidence in themselves. I have seen this first-hand each week as the clients evolve alongside the hangouts. They want to be more involved and want to learn and ask questions about the topics we discuss that benefit them as clients of Inland Regional Center, and as a person in the community. As the founder and host of the CAC Hangouts, when I hear that someone can’t wait to come to the next hangout, or that they have an idea on what we can do at the following meet-up, it just makes me smile knowing that something I created has become a place of happiness, where they count down every day until its, as I like to call it, “Hangout Day”!
If there are any IRC Clients that want to join us on a Thursday, and it’s your first time, expect a group of individuals, like yourself, wanting to engage and meet others, while we laugh, dance, cook, and share stories, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Don’t worry, you will not be required to speak. You can simply join and be a spectator until you feel ready to mingle. Everybody fits in at the CAC Hangouts, come stop by anytime, whether it’s for 5 minutes or the entire time. We will be glad to have you either way!
CAC Hangouts are every Thursday from 1pm to 2:30pm
For any questions, concerns, or to join feel free to reach out to me, Stephen Donahue, at Sdonahue@inlandrc.org
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