Staten Islander launches new dating, social groups for developmentally disabled young adults – SILive.com
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — As a child, Victoria Bennett, 28, used to tag along with her father, a photographer who shot photos for the Grace Foundation, an organization committed to support and education for children/adults impacted by autism spectrum disorder.
“Those events I went to with my dad always stuck in my mind. … My heart was drawn toward working with people with disabilities,” she said, noting this led to her obtaining a master’s degree in the field.
“There’s still so much of a stigma [from society of people with developmental disabilities]. I feel like I can really connect with people with disabilities. When you connect to someone, whether it’s a kid or an adult, you can help them so much more on a deeper level,” added Bennett.
But after working in both public and private schools for about five years, Bennett realized she didn’t feel fulfilled.
“I loved the students I worked with, but I knew that I could do more good on my own than I could working for the private or public school systems,” she said.
For this reason in Nov. 2021 she launched Victoria’s Educational Services, which offers an array of educational services for both children and teenagers with and without developmental disabilities.
Recently added services are dating workshops and speed dating events at Beans and Leaves in Charleston, specifically for developmentally disabled young adults. The business also hosts social groups for preteens, teenagers and young adults with disabilities in various locations on Staten Island, and remote groups for those who prefer to interact virtually.
After launching social groups for developmentally disabled young adults last year, Bennett found many of the participants were looking to find a romantic …….