Hello, my name is Teresa G. I attend Easter Seals Greater Houston’s LEAD Adult Program weekly throughout the year. Since COVID, we have been meeting online through Zoom. Here are a few reasons why I like to attend the virtual programs: I like the LEAD virtual program for various reasons, but perhaps the most important reason is it allows me to share my life experience as a person living with a disability with other LEAD Adult Program participants. The participants that attend the LEAD Adult Program are all at different stages in life. As a long time member of the LEAD Adult Program I can share my ideas and wisdom with my LEAD community.
During this COVID experience, the LEAD virtual program has provided members with a sense of normalcy and continuity which is very much needed during this uncertain time. An added blessing to having the LEAD Adult Program go online is that the shy quiet members of the LEAD Adult Program have discovered they have a voice. They have been working extremely hard to overcome their shyness and speech difficulties to be heard over Zoom. The improved communication and social skills among all the LEAD members has been a beautiful thing to witness.
I have also noticed LEAD members becoming more comfortable with using technology across other forums such as Facebook and Messenger. Easter Seals Greater Houston is important because it has programs that are unique for adults with disabilities. The LEAD Adult Program is unique because it encourages peer groups to come up with creative solutions to life problems. The facilitators and volunteers at Easter Seals Greater Houston work extremely hard to foster a sense of independence among its members. They provide LEAD members with tools and supplies such as event planners, access to information, computer apps, and ways to handle emergency procedures when we socialize as individuals or in groups independently outside of Easter Seals. Programs such as LEAD and BridgingApps are unique to Easter Seals Greater Houston and that is why I think Easter Seals Greater Houston is an important part of the larger community.