Kris has been a part of the Disability Network family for nearly 14 years. His story started back in high school when he was an active participant in the Disability Network LIFE Program. He immediately felt a connection to the staff. “The team genuinely cared about me and the other students. They helped us through our problems.” After graduating from school, Kris was asked to participate in a panel discussion for the LIFE Program. He marched in several parades. He soon became an office volunteer and helped with the office mailings. “Volunteering has given me confidence” Kris explains. Since those first experiences, he has gone on to volunteer in many Traverse City community events like the Cherry Festival and Film Festival. His favorite volunteer position has been serving as water boy for the Traverse City West High School Football team.
When asked how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected his life, his response was “I really miss getting out and doing things. I like to stay busy!” Kris has participated in several of Disability Network’s virtual Support Groups. Although he never Zoomed before, he has found these groups to be a great way to connect with his peers. He is an active member of both the virtual Peer Advocacy and Men’s Group. He likes to listen to others and to see what they are up to. He looks forward to the day he can be back out among his friends. But for now, Kris enjoys the Zoom experience as a way to stay connected to some of his favorite people.
Disability Network responded to the COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Order by taking their in-person support groups to a virtual online format. Consumer’s like Kris are now able stay connected to their peers by accessing virtual Zoom meetings online.