In his job as Program Assistant at The Autism Society of Central Virginia, and as a self-advocate for the organization, Ian Young is well aware of the challenges faced by individuals with developmental disabilities. As a member of our Next Generation Council (NGC) for young professionals, he is determined to make a difference in the lives of those served by SOAR365 programs and services.
“I first heard about the NGC through the SOAR365 newsletter,” said Ian, who was raised in both Fredericksburg City and Spotsylvania County. “I was very intrigued about what participants do for the organization, so I decided to sign up.”
Ian enjoyed his previous volunteer work with SOAR365 – and that experience motivated him to join the NGC and take his participation to a whole new level. He has enjoyed meeting other young professionals and working together on NGC projects undertaken by the council.
“My favorite memory has got to be the Trunk-or-Treat in October,” he recalled. “I love dressing up, and getting to see all the attendees enjoy themselves put a huge smile to my face.”
April is a busy month for Ian – and he is prepared to tackle multiple responsibilities, both professional and as a volunteer. “In my job at The Autism Society of Central Virginia, I am involved in supporting Autism Awareness Month in April. For the NGC, I will be setting up for the Ladybug Wine Tasting & Silent Auction and then cleaning up afterward.”
Ian’s involvement with the NGC has helped build his leadership and critical thinking skills. “I have always been a team player,” he explains, “but the NGC has helped me work more independently with designated projects.”
His advice to young professionals who are considering joining the NGC: “Go into it with an open mind,” Ian says. “Personally, I didn’t know what to expect when I first joined. After a couple months I finally found my groove!”
In addition to his professional and volunteer work, Ian enjoys playing cover versions of songs he likes on a synthesizer. Who knows? Maybe some lucky SOAR365 clients or volunteers may be treated to a musical performance sometime in the future …
To find out more about volunteer opportunities at SOAR365, please send an email to [email protected]!