Who is The Next Stop program designed for?
Adults who have special needs such as mild intellectual disabilities, high level autism, or mild brain injuries and meet the following guidelines.
Members must be
- 18 years or older
- Able to communicate verbally and contribute to a conversation
- Able to use the bathroom without assistance
- Able to work on a task without one on one support
- Cooperative, compliant, and willing and able to engage in group activities
- Members must not have aggressive or violent behaviors.
What do members do at The Next Stop?
The Next Stop’s program provides opportunities for social interactions, recreational activities, and life application learning. At the Suwanee Sports Academy we have our own two rooms for social activities and learning, complete with a residential kitchen. We also have access to gym space for recreational fun and a walking path outside.
A typical afternoon might include:
- The first hour is “free social time” that is facilitated by volunteers. Basic options for members are games, puzzles, gym activities, Wii, talking with your friends, and/or craft corner activities. This time supports social interactions with other members and/or volunteers.
- Cooking and food preparation is a big part of most afternoons. Besides learning to prepare different foods and follow a recipe, our goals are to support familiarity with kitchen tasks and tools and introduce new foods.
- Each day we spend time in the gym enjoying some kind of recreation. Examples are kickball, volleyball, floor hockey, dancing, fitness, tennis, relays, etc. Several times a year we walk on the Suwanee trail that passes in front of the Suwanee Sports Academy.
- The end of the day is usually spent all together playing a group game, having small group and/or large group discussions, music, learning a new concept, etc. This time is sometimes used for guests who come to share their skill or knowledge with us.
How do I get information about signing up?
Contact The Next Stop at 404-932-3953 or email Vicki LaRoche at firstname.lastname@example.org. A visit to the program will be arranged.
Who Staffs the Program?
Vicki and Stu LaRoche, founders of The Next Stop, lead the program. Currently The Next Stop has three employees – a program director, a kitchen educator, and an administrative assistant. Five program volunteers a day lead groups under the direction of the staff. Our staff and volunteers have all been screened with criminal background checks and fingerprinting. Because program volunteers facilitate activities, support social interactions, lead groups, and encourage members, their role at The Next Stop is an integral part of this program.
What are Our Goals?
The Next Stop encourages and supports individual personal growth in the areas of self confidence, social skills, life application skills, and awareness, through planned activities and interaction. Our staff and volunteers mentor our members by:
- Fostering members’ independence during tasks
- Encouraging members to not only participate in, but also initiate activities and make decisions
- Facilitating mature social interaction with mentored behavioral modeling
- Familiarizing members with specific life skills such as cooking, using kitchen utensils, identifying a variety of foods, and following a recipe
- Enabling use of fine motor skills and experience with novel activities
- Exposing members to new experiences, situations, thought processes, and decision-making actions
- Providing the opportunity to develop responsibility and leadership skills
- Incorporating the philosophy of “dignity of risk” in member activities — we respect their “right” to make choices, explore new opportunities, and step out of their comfort zone – all without fear of failure or criticism from others — in a safe, but without risk, environment.