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Gathering Together, Virtually

As we adapt with the ever-changing times, we continue to find new ways to communicate with one another.

The Spokane Shriners Hospital recreational therapy department staff members have adapted by now hosting their weekly Teen Group meetings to a fun new virtual format. Normally, this group meeting is held in person at the hospital and allows teen patients to get together to talk about various life topics. The group is always working on some form of life skill or social lesson. However, the main purpose is to create a fun space and to check in with one another.

Before the virtual get-togethers began, recreational therapist Larissa Sims and social worker Serena Bailey connected with each group member individually over Skype. They spent time discussing COVID-19 and how it has affected their lives. They discussed various ways of how the teens can cope with the new stressful environment in which we all find ourselves living.

“It is a resource for our teens to not feel so isolated and connect with kids their age during these socially distanced times,” said Bailey. “They now recognize each other and get excited to see one another when we hop on the call.”

When the group was meeting in person at the hospital, each meeting included a group activity and a tasty snack! It was important to the teens that these remained a regular part of their virtual meetings. In order to accomplish this, every week Sims and Bailey mail out packets to each group member. The packets include the weekly group activity and a delicious snack to enjoy together during the call.

“The main thing is to stay connected with our teens during these difficult times,” said Sims. “Even if we just chat for an hour and have a snack, it means a lot to everyone involved.”

However, no virtual meeting can happen without some form of technical hiccup. “It was a bumpy first call getting everyone on at the same time, but we now have the hang of it,” Sims said.

The group has held four fall sessions and will have a virtual holiday party together in December. They will start back up in January for winter session.

“This has been a great solution considering the circumstances, but we do miss having our kids in person,” Sims said. “We look forward to seeing everyone in person again one day soon."

virtual meeting

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