Young adults learn 3D printing at the YMCA LAB
GL Homes’ ongoing partnership with the Legal Aid Society’s Guardianship Assistance Program recently provided another opportunity for young adults with developmental challenges to experience a new activity by learning about 3D printing for the first time at Boca Raton YMCA LAB.
The Legal Aid Society’s GAP program in Palm Beach County provides services and support to young adults with developmental disabilities ages 18 and older residing in the county. The program has up to 20 young adults and several who have aged out of foster care. The seven participating GAP young adults aged 19 to 43 at the event were able to design and also paint their own 3D creations.
“GL Homes has been really great about providing the opportunity to get out into the community and get young adults to experience things they normally couldn’t experience,” said Jessica Kelson, who is the case manager for the Guardian Advocacy Project at the Palm Beach County Legal Aid Society. “We have a lot of the same young adults who want to participate. They have never experienced 3D creations before. It was very cool for them to see because it wasn’t on their radar and it’s completely new. The property is truly amazing with all it has to offer, so they really enjoyed it. They welcomed us to carry out the project and were able to help them and get to know them. They really supported me. »
Kelson has an active role in helping young adults on a daily basis. They remain in the program until someone can take over their guardianship or they are functioning and safe on their own in the community where they no longer need a guardian.
GL Homes hosted young adults for several activities in the community, including bowling, golf, arts and crafts, and visiting the Pinball Museum in Delray Beach.
“Over the past five years, we have been able to build a very strong relationship with this very special group of young people,” said Sarah Alsofrom, Senior Director of Community Relations at GL Homes. “I think that’s part of the key to the success of this program. They are familiar and more comfortable with us and so we can connect with them. We are very attached to the Legal Aid Society and to this group of young people with special needs. We have seen them grow and flourish. They really came out of their shell. We will continue this partnership and it has been such a success. We want to see these young people being productive in the community, being able to engage with others and that really warms our hearts.
The YMCA LAB in Boca Raton, which has been open for a year and a half, gave young adults the opportunity to participate in an activity at home for the first time. The facility offers rooms with different themes, including eSports.
Bryan Hunt, executive director of the Peter Blum Family YMCA in Boca Raton, said they run a special needs program and services for children, teens and adults. Chase’s Place provides care for people with special needs. Aly Reeves serves as program coordinator and provides assistance.
“We do our best to meet the needs of our community,” Hunt said. “That’s what the LAB does and that’s what the YMCA is all about. There are so many different things going on in the world today. The beauty of this partnership with this group and these teams here is one of the things we want to focus on and the more we can continue to engage with people through this work that will make our future even better.
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James Rodriguez is the director of teen programming at the Peter Blum Family YMCA in Boca Raton. He said the YMCA LAB offers a full program of activities for teens, including an after-school program, summer camp, and STEM programs. He said he also enjoys working with the young adults in the GAP program.
“The opportunity to host a special group population of young adults is incredible,” Rodriguez said. “We wanted to have something interesting and practical, and nothing is better than 3D printing. It is something to take with them that is tangible.
Hope, who participated in the activity at the YMCA LAB, joined the GAP program last month.
“I enjoyed it and was able to learn a lot,” she said. “I was able to paint and meet everyone. It was fun. The program really helped and guided me.
On the other hand, when GL Homes and the Legal Aid Society find a unique activity, young adults become interested.
“When GL Homes and the Legal Aid Society come together, we have challenges and we have to be creative about what we are going to do to involve them,” she said. “We have to be considerate and attentive to their needs and find who can work well with this particular population. It is an ongoing challenge for us to find that perfect activity. The YMCA does the trick. Young adults came here with bright, excited eyes and ready to learn all about 3D printing. It’s something they’ve been looking forward to for weeks. The Y has opened its arms to this group.
The YMCA LAB is located in downtown Boca Raton, 6000 Glades Road, Suite 1370A. Visit ymcaspbc.org/thelab.