Being a teenager or a young adult is viewed as the best years of your life. It is supposed to be filled with fun and excitement as you make memories with your friends! For many young people nowadays, being young isn’t always super fun. Young people are expected to balance school, employment and a social life all at once. This can be a challenge for any young person; however, having all those challenges on top of a medical condition, such as epilepsy, can prove to be an even greater challenge. Epilepsy South Central Ontario has a Youth Empowerment Program designed to assist youth and young adults with the challenges they may face.
We offer support groups, social outings, workshops, life skills building, community initiatives, fundraising drives, and many more opportunities to people between 15 and 30 years of age who are living with epilepsy. As well, the services are open to those who are siblings of someone living with epilepsy. It is common for a young person attending a group for the first time to feel nervous, unsure or even doubtful that the program will be of benefit to them; however once they step through the door for the first time they quickly learn that the program is just what they were looking for! After attending only one activity or group, people always come back to the next group they are available to attend.
Each and every group meeting, workshop or activity that we have brings a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere with it. The people who attend the program meet many other youth close in age who are going through a similar situation. The youth and young adults in the program offer each other peer support, knowledge and information, and they develop bonds and friendships. The program is a fantastic way to have fun without fear that they will be judged if they have a seizure. For the siblings who attend, it provides an opportunity for them to meet other siblings who have the same concerns, or challenges that they may have in regards to having a sibling who has epilepsy.
The most amazing part of the program is watching the support groups and planned activities naturally unravel as everyone connects without making a conscious effort to do so. If you are reading this right now and are a young person with epilepsy, or the sibling of someone who has epilepsy, put aside your doubts and feelings of nervousness! Give the program one chance and you will see why so many young people look forward to all of our planned support groups, workshops, and social outings.
Let’s bring back what being young is all about and have some FUN!