When a global pandemic was declared and shelter-in-place measures were put into place, everyone had to overcome many challenges that came with the lack of social contact. At PRAGNYA, we rely on social interactions to make connections with our neurodiverse friends, however, we have had to find new means of communication and staying connected. This meant exploring new online platforms in an effort to foster that same connection that we would have had in person. A couple of times a week, allies join a zoom call with their neurodiverse peers in which we sing, dance, play games, and just “hang out“ - enjoy each other’s company.
PRAGNYA, as an organization, is making an effort to keep its members close and engaged in these unusual times. Not only are we preserving the friendships that we have created throughout the years, but we are making new ones, with neurodiverse peers joining us from different parts of the world.
Now for the ICING on the CAKE : it is a birthday after all, isn’t it ? 😁
At PRAGNYA, we love celebrating every single milestone in each of our lives, especially BIRTHDAYS! Without being able to meet in person, we had to get creative to still make these moments special. Just recently one of our very dear allies, Blake, turned 17 years old. Blake had really looked forward to an amazing celebration after seeing how many of us had shown up and celebrated his brother’s and Sister’s birthdays last year and earlier this year. When Blake’s mother was concerned how to celebrate Blake’s party in this COViD 19 situation, the PRAGNYA team suggested a family Drive-by celebration - and therein was born the Birthday Caravan - an awesomely organized drive-by birthday bash, where many families, neurotypical and neurodiverse literally drove the celebration for our dear Blake.
As the cars filled with enthusiastic party people lined up on Blake’s street, you could feel the excitement in the air. There were honks and claps and cheers from each and every vehicle creating a vibrant celebratory atmosphere. What really made the event memorable was the unadulterated joy reflected on Blake’s face. You could see his elation in his smile and through his actions, as he ran around greeting everyone and jumped up and down with glee.
This celebration is a reflection of what PRAGNYA strives for relentlessly, every single day. Building circles of kindness and support and making these meaningful connections with our peers, regardless of our differences, and the constraints placed on us even during this pandemic. We, allies, want to be there for all our PRAGNYA peers through good and the bad. Even when we encounter an obstacle like Covid-19, we still aspire to keep the sense of community we have created with them. They say “distance makes the hearts grow fonder..” - at PRAGNYA we live it every week, where physically distancing does not ever stop us from emotionally connecting and connect we did, with Blake and his entire family !