AVATIL’s social development services are available to all AVATIL clients. They include groups and activities that aim to promote personal development and social competence. Group meetings and social activities provide our clients with opportunities to develop and maintain social contacts and their networks of support with peers. For community support clients, social development activities help reduce their social isolation in the community.
AVATIL also encourages the social participation of clients in the community. This includes participation in cultural, social, and recreational activities outside the organization. It is hoped that, through AVATIL’s social development services, clients will continue to participate in resources that they have been introduced to, either with their peer group or on their own, and to participate in other programs and activities that match their interests. AVATIL staff members can facilitate resource linking to various resources in the community. Family members are also encouraged to promote their son/daughter’s participation in cultural, social, and recreational resources in the community.
Description of Activities
Monthly activities include shared suppers, Saturday Nights on the Town, as well as Saturday recreational/social activities for adolescents, young adults, and Comitas members. Special outings include winter and summer camps, and day outings, such as a cabane à sucre event or Meg and David Day. A summer program of recreational and social activities is offered to clients that are 18 years of age and over. The Travel and Culture Committee (TCC) includes clients in the planning and organization of cultural activities, and offers trips open to all clients. Long-term links are maintained through annual events such as the Christmas party and a fundraising activity.
More recently, AVATIL has developed “lunch and games” activities offered Monday through Wednesday during the day. Most of the participants are over the age of 40, and are no longer involved in regular day activities. Participants benefit from low-cost, nutritious meals, and from opportunities to socialize with their peer group.
Participants aged 25-40 (“GRADS”)
Many of AVATIL’s clients in the 25-40-age category live independently in the community. Most have graduated from the transitional living program and receive AVATIL community support services. Two weekly “grad groups” have been developed for these clients. Grad 1 group meetings are held on Mondays, 6-8 p.m. Grad 2 group meetings are held on Thursdays, 6-8 p.m. and include supper. Topics for group discussions vary according to the priorities and interests of the members.
Comitas is a long-term support program of activities for older participants (aged 40+) of AVATIL. It addresses the support needs of its long-term and aging participants who have evolved through its services and whose natural support systems have waned. Many face an increased risk for physical and emotional ill health. They are all vulnerable to poverty, loneliness, and exploitation. Comitas offers a circle of friends for a son or daughter and a network of mutual support. It encourages the participation of friends and volunteers.
Comitas groups form the basis of support. These groups can offer participants an enduring sense of belonging, and mutual support is encouraged. Comitas offers two groups on alternate Wednesdays, 5-7p.m.: Moonlighters and Sunshiners.
Topics for these groups vary according to the interests of the members. A Comitas social activity is held one Saturday a month. An arts and crafts group is held on Wednesday afternoons. An art group is organized periodically (4-5 times per year).
A monthly Saturday activity is also organized in the community. Potluck lunches are held every two months on Saturdays. These lunches provide important occasions for members of the Comitas community – participants, their families, friends, and volunteers to come together.
The Friends of Comitas are a group of dedicated volunteers. They meet every six weeks, and assist in the planning and animation of Comitas groups, potluck lunches, monthly Saturday activities and a yearly anniversary event. They also publish a Comitas newsletter.