John, Christie, and Tracy making funny faces

Defining “Wellness” in Social Club

“What does wellness mean to you?”

arlsocial-john_christie_and_tracy_sqWhen I asked our Arlington Social Club members, some of them said it was maintaining hygiene and health. Others took “wellness” a different way to mean feeling whole – like you belong. This is when our quick weekly check-in turned into something more. One by one, club members talked about feeling different or like they don’t belong in a certain category.

For example, one member mentioned they don’t really fit in with the deaf community because of their partial hearing. Another member doesn’t feel like they fit in with the community of people with disabilities because they’re very high-functioning. Ultimately what it led to for the whole group was realizing, “I fit in everywhere” because everyone feels like they don’t fit in in some way. Everybody straddles these groups.

A lot of our members walk around all the time just feeling different. To realize everyone in the room, including those without disabilities, feels this way is so normalizing.

And I think that’s what Social club is about. Unconditional acceptance. No matter what your day has been, no matter what your story is, you’re accepted and a valued member of the group. You have a lot to introduce. We welcome you and are excited to see what you have to offer.

Kimmy, one of our members put it best, saying, “Social club taught me that no matter how different we are, the world you live in and the world I live in is the same world.”

-Teaching Artist Amy Neumann


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