Even with social distancing measures in place, Bowling Green’s The HIVE is working to keep its community of adults with disabilities engaged during an unsettled time.
Laura Orsland, founder and executive director of The HIVE, said the organization – along with community partners – has the task of keeping the community active, even if that means finding creative, virtual ways to see one another on a regular basis.
Orsland said she and others created a private Facebook group that involves all community partners that support adults with disabilities.
“Isolation is such a big deal,” Orsland said. “Being stuck at home is particularly difficult and having things canceled is really hard to understand.”
Orsland said staying engaged is important to the group’s mental health.
“These guys are, in many ways, marginalized unless they have someone advocating for them in our society, so to be just at home can be really difficult,” she said.
One way the group stays together and engaged is through Zoom, an online program that allows users to video chat with one another at once.
Activities include art classes, virtual field trips, having lunch together and an event called the Game Club, based on Dungeons and Dragons.
Recently, The HIVE hosted a talent show that allowed members to submit their talents on the private Facebook page. The winner was a member named Ginna, who sang “Keep on the Sunny Side.”
“We probably had seven submissions,” said Orsland, adding that performances ranged from singing to telling jokes.
“We have a schedule of activities planned out for the next several weeks,” Orsland said. “We will keep doing it until we open up again.”
Orsland said the majority of the community has been capable of navigating the technology on their own or with the help of others, but she said she is worried about those that cannot connect.
“This is about all we can offer, but it is certainly less than ideal for this population,” Orsland said. “There are some that are completely disconnected and I’m worried about my friends. … It is supplemental until we can all be together.”
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