Autism is a disorder that primarily affects social communication skills, which is why our “Peer Buddies” are such an integral part of our program. “Peer Buddies” are student volunteers (ages 12 and up) who provide a positive example for our participants with autism. In turn, the volunteer receives priceless lessons of stewardship, compassion, and the value of acceptance. FACT offers a wide range of activities and time commitments throughout the year that suits anyone’s schedule, including daily (seasonal), weekly, monthly, and occasional time commitments.
To learn more about the types of programs you can volunteer for, please scroll down or Contact Us for questions.
To request a letter or verify community service hours click here
Gonnawannabowlagin’ is a bowling league for athletes with autism. FACT hosts two of these leagues a year, one beginning in September, and the other beginning in January. Each league lasts for 8 weeks and meet for two hours on Sunday afternoon at the Pinboys on Laskin Road. Bowling Buddies may sign up to volunteer for as many as 8 weeks or as little as 4 weeks, but are required to stay for the entire 2-hour session of each volunteer date.
Teen Time is a social program for young adults ages 13-18 with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s Syndrome. Interactive activities such as going to arcades, karaoke, laser quest, and dances are specifically chosen so that our students have increased opportunities to socialize with their peers and can gain confidence about being among the community. Peer volunteers are present to help set examples for appropriate behavior, encourage social interactions, and most importantly, to be a friend. Teen Time is offered once a month from September through June, typically on Fridays or Saturdays. Volunteers ages 15-18 must register for each event separately and may participate as often as they like.
Inspired by the popular “Teen Time”, Social Club is designed to increase opportunities for socialization to adults (ages 19-30) with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s Syndrome. The types of outings are specifically chosen so to give increased opportunities to socialize with their peers. Interactive activities such as going to arcades, karaoke, and laser quest always include peer volunteers 19 to 30. The primary role of volunteers is to assist staff in keeping the group together and facilitating participation and appropriate behavior.
Camp Gonnawannagoagin’- Peer Buddy Volunteer
FACT hosts a fun-filled, action-packed day camp for 6 one-week sessions in the summer, 1 week in the spring, and 1 week in the winter. Student volunteers, or “Peer Buddies,” are paired with a child with autism for a week of mentoring and companionship. For a Peer Buddy, camp is a place to learn that leadership is about connecting with and serving others. Volunteers witness first hand that a disability doesn’t drive a person, and differences need not be feared.
Volunteer Opportunities for Adults
For obvious reasons, adults are not eligible to be a “Peer Buddy” during camp due to their age. However, many of the activities that support our organization specifically require adult volunteers. Like our student volunteer program, we have adult volunteer opportunities to suit any schedule. Below are a just few examples of how you can help.
- Lawn Party Under the Stars- Each May FACT hosts the party of the season and raises much needed funds for FACT programs. It’s a beautiful outdoor event hosted at a private home in Birdneck Point in Virginia Beach. The party features catering from Baker’s Crust and Coastal Grill, top shelf open bar, live music, dancing, live and silent auctions, and a raffle for cash prizes.
- Sports Clinics including Gonnawannabowlagin’– A limited number of young adult volunteers are used for our bowling leagues beginning in September and January. Volunteers assist with weekly check-in, and work with teams to facilitate communication, sportsmanship, and turn taking. Adult volunteers may also be utilized as team captains at bowling.
- I Can Bike– This program teaches individuals with disabilities to ride traditional two wheel bikes in just 5 days! Physically Fit teens and adults are needed to be spotters for 1 hour per day for 5 days. Volunteers run alongside new riders with emerging skills offering emotional and physical support.
- Family Celebrations– FACT hosts a wonderful party each October, December, February, April, and June. We have inflatables, games, face-painting, crafts, concessions, and a visit from Santa! Adults and teens are needed to manage all aspects of the event from running a ring toss game to grilling hot dogs.
Sharing Your Talent or Hobby
We welcome guests during our day camps, socials, and sports programs. Whether you play an instrument, have an unusual pet, cook, juggle, or have an artistic talent, we’d love to learn about what makes you unique.
For more information regarding any of these activities Contact Us.
FACT is very fortunate that so many civic minded groups and individuals host fund raisers to benefit our programs. From tennis and golf tournaments, to “penny wars”, car washes, and corn-hole tournaments; teams, clubs, and small businesses have taken it upon themselves to help families with autism. If you would like to host a fundraiser, please let us know. We can help promote your event, provide volunteers, and sometimes contribute or lend materials.