IGNITE is a new community center for young adults with high-functioning autism (HFA) or Asperger's Syndrome (AS). IGNITE offers activities, skills training, and educational workshops that will foster social, financial, educational, and employment independence for its members. But most importantly, it offers a social environment where members can connect with others and experience a sense of community. IGNITE focuses on the existing strengths and interests of its members, allowing them to pursue individual interests, while providing supports where needed. IGNITE encourages members to discover their passions and reach their full potential.
Where is IGNITE?
IGNITE is located in the historic Davidson Cotton Mill in Davidson, a close-knit, walkable community near the northern edge of Mecklenburg County. The large space features a creative, loft-like environment featuring open activity space, a TV lounge with a brick fireplace, computer stations, and a kitchen.
What makes IGNITE so unique?
Individuals with high-functioning autism and Asperger's Syndrome often have trouble finding a place of their own that will afford them social opportunities, further education and develop employment options. No longer. IGNITE staff will work with each member to help them gain confidence and independence on their own chosen path. Whether it is acclimating to a college campus, tutoring for a college class, practicing for a job interview, learning to ride the CATS bus system, or just getting out to fun events in the community, IGNITE staff are there to help.
IGNITE functions as a partnership between staff and members, working side-by-side as colleagues. Members are encouraged to support one another along the way by sharing their knowledge, experience, and expertise. Activities within the Mill space and out in the community will be determined by members' preferences and requests. Afternoon and evening activities will be available weekly to members who wish to participate. IGNITE's website and blog will be developed by members, for members. Workshops and individual coaching will be developed as determined by the members' needs; they might include job interview skills, managing budgets and finances, creating resumes, or learning to make social contacts.
Who can participate in IGNITE?
IGNITE is a program operated by the Autism Society of North Carolina with founding support from the Evernham Family Racing for a Reason Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization started by legendary NASCAR crew chief champion Ray Evernham.