Project THRIVE provides degree-seeking students who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and related disorders with equal access to the University of North Florida. Throughout the year, THRIVE hosts social events that encourage students to practice social skills in a welcoming environment. One of the events included a game afternoon, where students could bring in board, card, or electronic games and host tournaments. The day was filled with laughter and friendly competition. The afternoon of recreation was not exclusive to THRIVE participants, but open to all UNF students. People from all sorts of majors and programs could integrate and create a closer campus community.

Young adults with ASD may find it difficult at first to socialize with their peers. So, communal events like this allow students to explore their social boundaries. Making this game day inclusive also gave THRIVE students the opportunity to make new friends. When it comes to friendships, sometimes you need to take the interaction outside of the classroom. In a laidback setting, people will feel more comfortable to be themselves.

As seen in the picture, students played card games while munching and sipping on snacks provided by the HDS Foundation. THIRVE Coordinator, Tara Rowe, is also pictured hanging out with two students during the afternoon. Tara has kept the HDS Foundation updated with THRIVE’s happenings and shared great pictures. We encourage Project THRIVE to continue their mission and hope they keep hosting these fun events next school year!