SBRN hosted our annual Adult Empowerment Retreat for 2019
Over 30 adults with disabilities gathered for our weekend long retreat from Friday, Sept 20 through Sunday, Sept 22, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Edison NJ. This year’s theme was: #LiveFiercely through Self-Care. The retreat was facilitated by Millie Gonzalez, who is Ms. Wheelchair NJ 2019, along with Colleen Roche.
The Adult Empowerment Retreat is a weekend-long event with workshops on a variety of topics related to living with disabilities, movement and art-related activities, as well as social opportunities throughout the weekend. The focus is on increasing independence, socialization, self-esteem and overall growth.
This year, workshop topics included: self-care, advocacy and civic engagement, sex and body image, resilience, depression and stages of independence. Participants had time to laugh with comedy routines and time to move with warm-up and workout sessions. For something different this year, retreaters also had the opportunity to learn to paint at a workshop run by Yaymaker. Participants learned painting techniques and produced their own unique paintings of a butterfly.
In the words of one repeat retreater: “Spina Bifida is a big part of my identity, and this retreat helps me stay connected to it, and that’s important to me. Something I really like about our group is that we choose to eat together and we actually talk and have real, meaningful discussions where things are shared, and nothing can replace that. It’s important to have these connections.”
We would like to thank the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation for providing us with a Quality of Life Grant to help fund this retreat. We would also like to thank our workshop/session leaders: Millie Gonzalez, Colleen Roche, Tara Criscuolo, Chris Casiez, Zach Garafalo, Stephanie Woodward, Tim Grill, Taylor Carmen Savath, Mike Cotoya and Julie Yindra.
SBRN is very grateful for all who contributed to this transformative experience.