Bryan Dumas was never really a people person, that is, until he joined Living Resources’ Moreau/South Glens Falls Day Community Opportunities Program (DCOP). He had been in a more traditional day program through another agency, but didn’t enjoy it much. Then he learned about a program where he could participate in a wide variety of activities throughout his community, including cultural and artistic pursuits, volunteer opportunities, recreational activities, and skill building classes. Bryan decided to give it a go.

His mother Ginny said that the DCOP activities are not dictated by the staff, but decided after the group is asked what they want to do. In his year at DCOP, Bryan enjoyed cleaning churches and volunteering at Wunsapana Llama Farm, as well as going to Moreau beach and walking along the shore collecting things with his group (he’s not a fan of swimming.) Bryan, whose upbeat perspective on life is, “Autism isn’t a tragedy- running out of bacon is a tragedy” has discovered new favorite activities through DCOP. He didn’t think he would like volunteering for Meals on Wheels, but over time, he discovered that he looked forward to visiting the friendly seniors.

Bryan didn’t realize how much the group meant to him until after the Coronavirus shutdown, though. He spent his time in his apartment playing on his computer, but was lonely. Ginny said, “It was honestly a struggle. He needed his group. He’s not usually a people person, but he realized he really needed socialization more than he thought.”

When he learned that DCOP was starting back up at the end of July, Bryan told his mother, “It’s about time!” and jumped into activities with gusto. Not typically a fan of board games, he played monopoly with the group, and had a ball. He even made friends with a Guinea pig named “Meatloaf.” Ginny noted that he normally wouldn’t do that, but that this group has helped him feel more comfortable about trying new things.

Bryan is looking forward to start cooking again. The group is involved in the whole process – shopping, put it together, and tasting the end product. Ginny stated, “(DCOP) has opened him up to doing more than he ever has in his life. You guys are amazing.”