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Where can I volunteer with austistic children or adults?

Si Cantwell

David Beauregard, the Independent Living Skills Coordinator for the disAbility Resource Center, organizes his case files June 21, 2011. PHOTO BY Paul Stephen/Wilmington StarNews

Q. I want to volunteer in the Wilmington area with autistic children/adults, but I can’t find anywhere to offer my support. Can my fellow Wilmingtonians help me?

A. TEACCH is an organization based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that has seven regional centers around the state, including in Wilmington.

Olive Hollinger of the local TEACCH office had some suggestions.

Here are the ones MyReporter was able to contact. Many serve populations of people with various types of disabilities, including the range of conditions that Hollinger called autism spectrum disorder.

The disAbility Resource Center: A nonprofit that provides free services to people with disabilities in five counties. The disAbility Resource Center offers a multitude of volunteer opportunities, including teaching a class or activity, helping with adminstrative tasks or answering phones, serving on committees or the board of directors. For more information, email info@drcwilmington.org or call 815-6618.

The Gathering Place: A monthly social event for young adults in their teens and 20s with and without disabilities. The free event is held one Friday evening each month from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church Activity Center, 1401 South College Road. There are a variety of activities in the game room and gym; drinks and snacks are provided. It needs volunteers from 6:15 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. one Friday evening a month to help with set-up, refreshments, sign-in/sign-out, craft table, Bingo, other games, interacting with guests, and clean-up. Upcoming dates are Dec 14, 2012; Jan. 18, Feb. 22 and March 15, 2013. Beth Hansen described the program for StarNews blogger David Morrison in September 2012; click here to read the entry. For more information, please contact the church office at 791-4092 or email wilmparentshare@aol.com.

A Caring Heart: Day center operated by a for-profit private provider of mental health services that is located near New Hanover Regional Medical Center. It provides services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and could use volunteers. Call 332-3513 for more information.

Cape Fear Soccer Club: Operates the TOPSoccer program for children with special needs. It needs volunteers, although it is less active in the winter. Call 392-0306.

Coastal Therapeutic Riding: Offers therapeutic horseback riding and care opportunities to people with disabilities, including those with autism. For more information about the program or to volunteer, visit coastalriding.org or call Kim Niggel at 470-0490.

Know of others? Contact Si Cantwell at (910) 343-2364 or si.cantwell@starnewsonline.com.


What’s the best way to figure out where to volunteer?

Does anybody volunteer to improve the appearance of the MLK Parkway?

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