The CIP Long Beach Social Skills Department has challenged students in the social arena using meetup.com. This site was developed in the wake of September 11, 2001 so that people worldwide could feel more connection. Students at CIP Long Beach socialized well with each other; however, they needed to socialize with people outside of CIP.
Students attending meetups were able to enhance their social skills. Staff accompanied students and observed the following: A student who lacked initiative decided to volunteer to be the “time-keeper”. Another student after a lengthy conversation was able to make a friend and exchange contact information with another member.
Since these meetups were centered on physical activity, one student commented that being around people who were healthy and physically fit was inspirational. Another student felt collective empowerment after completing a difficult workout and was given a high-five by all of the group members.
Students learned that the purpose of attending was to develop relationships more than participating in the activity. These meetup groups have provided opportunities for students to learn to be more flexible, to practice turn-taking in conversations and to build their confidence in meeting new people.