The month of September was an exciting one for SNAP’s University of Pittsburgh based organization, as several meetings were held in order to introduce the program’s objectives and functionality to potential new members. In addition, volunteering connections were officially established between SNAP and UPMC; following the conduction of required training, the volunteering will begin and further serve as a means of giving our club members a chance to directly assist with helping neurodiverse individuals. Our first general body meeting was a success, as we had north of a collective twenty students join us in-person and virtually. Members were debriefed about the club’s standard requirements, as well as options to become more involved. One such option is the subsidiary events board, which accompanies the primary board in establishing plans for future ‘specialty’ events (more on this later!). Our goal is to have this board filled with dedicated members throughout the course of the current semester.
Sparks in SNAP Volunteering
|Working at UPMC|
|(pictured Zachary Miller)|
At UPMC, via the program which SNAP club extends to involved members, the volunteers will gain first-hand experience with aiding people with special needs. We hope that this will benefit everyone involved, as meaningful connections and experience are expected to be fostered. SNAP volunteers will be working with anyone that defines themselves as being disabled (under the age of 75). Social, emotional, and physical support, in particular, will be provided to patients. Concrete needs, via the work of volunteers, such as fidget toys, stuffed animals, and coloring books, will also be provided to patients. More updates will be provided on future newsletters, as volunteering begins and is hopefully taken up on!
First SNAP Event
Upcoming events of the club also include a Nature Walk, which is being planned for late September/early October. We will be partnering with a local neurodiverse organization in order to make this event a reality. We very much hope to have an enjoyable and well-weathered experience! Currently, we intend for the walk to take place in Oakland’s Schenley Park.
Welcoming Guest Speakers
|Anto Bagić, MD, PhD, FAES, FACNS|
Our club further looks forward to welcoming guest speaker Anto Bagić (MD, PhD, FAES, FACNS) on October 19th to discuss topics pertaining to our organization’s mission and importance.
Dr. Bagić is an expert in Neurology focusing on the effects of epilepsy and different care techniques such as MEG (magnetoencephalography). He currently is working alongside UPMC in developing an Epilepsy System of Care. He continues to explore the world of epilepsy and expand the world of research and knowledge within the field. He is excited to speak with the SNAP community in the coming month about the causes and effects of epilepsy and how we all can help those with epilepsy.
SNAP Partners with the Reaact Lab for ASD Research
With regards to SNAP’s research component, we are enthusiastic to announce our partnership with the Reaact Lab! We will be starting our first research project in the very near future. This project will involve the surveying of the ASD community. Our second research project is in the initial stages of recruitment, as we await official IRB approval. Additional information regarding each of these projects will be revealed in the coming weeks.
Stay tuned for more information regarding the University of Pittsburgh’s SNAP club in the next newsletter!