MINOT – 2nd Story Social Club in Minot is a place for adults with developmental disabilities to come and socialize. It formed in 1975 and started with 45 members. The club now has 350 members.
“There is a great need for clubs like 2nd Story. Our mission is to enhance the quality of life for adults with developmental disabilities and to provide social, educational, and recreational activities,” 2nd Story Director Greg Gordon said.
“We have a variety of things” said Katrina Leintz, assistant director of 2nd Story. “We have two pool tables in the back. We have a Wii and an Xbox, we have computer lab, TV room. Anyone who’s a member can come down and just hang out with their friends. In the evening we have structured activity. It’s not mandatory that anyone comes to it. Everything we do is totally free of charge to our members.”
Leintz also explained that the club does pool tournaments, bingo nights, softball, picnics, and more.
Gordon explained those activities also have a social aspect. “Anything that brings the members together and kind of develop friendships skills,” he said.
“We also do educational,” Gordon continued. “We have nutritional classes. We partner with the NDSU extension service, and they come and provide life skill classes. We go over safety issues like what to do in the summer when it’s too hot, or too cold in the winter. We work hand in hand with other organizations.”
For the recreational aspect, the club has a softball league in the summer.
“We have a league, so they compete, the Wizards and the Dragons compete together,” said Gordon. “We take tours to the zoo, and all those community involvement stuff. One of the things we found out is that research shows that just going to a softball game or going out to dinner doesn’t necessarily build that interpersonal skill that you get by socializing as much as you can. That will cause people to interact with each other and learn from that experience.”
“We also saw during COVID, them being cut off from basically society, how difficult it was for just every person not having that interpersonal relationship, not having that constant communication,” Leintz said. “That in-face connection is really important for your mental well-being, your emotional well-being. We did Zoom Bingo, Zoom nutritional classes. Just a way for them to keep in touch with one another. Many of them have transportation issues; they don’t necessarily drive themselves; they have to take public transportation. So that allowed us at the time a way to interact with them, and now we still utilize it, so people who can’t necessarily come can still participate and still have that interaction.”
“And even just the community involvement, especially over the last year or two, we’ve had a lot more outreach, from not only individuals, but from the high school, and other people hearing about us, whereas they haven’t before,” said Leintz. “I think after COVID people realized how important it is to have a social outlet for everybody.”
Leintz and Gordon both said that because some members have moved out of the state, they wish to have more online and Zoom activities for those who can’t make it in person.
The club is for those 18 years old and older.
“When people come in, we just check on them a little bit, find out a little bit about them, their diagnosis,” Leintz explained. “We give them a two-week trial period, where they don’t have to come at all or they can come every day, and they can get a chance to see what we do and how we work.”
Gordon said there is a range in the severity of the members’ developmental issues. Leitnz said some live in homes with staff, while others can live on their own.
“We have some members who live independently, some who live in the group homes, some who live at home with families,” said Leintz. “We get a good variety of members from all different walks.”
“There wasn’t a place for them to socialize and build friendships and interpersonal skills,” Gordon said.
Gordon explained how the funding works, “We are not state funded. Everything that runs the club is from donations from people – the community, actual grants, and fundraisers. We get donations that can be used for Bingo prizes. You know, those smaller, dollar store [items]. There’s some that donate furniture if we have a member that just moved into an apartment, if they need the furniture, we can get it to them. Clothes, we get all that stuff that we use.”
“As far as monetarily, we have people that just give religiously every single month,” said Leintz. “A lot of times people request that their donations made to the club itself. We’re affiliated with several different programs that go on during the year for community outreach donations. We have a couple different grants, and then we have two large fundraisers throughout the year.”
The two large fundraisers are “Mardi Gras” in March, which is an event that includes bingo and raffles, and the “Meat and Greet” in April, which includes a silent auction and food. People can also volunteer for the different events that the club puts on.
More information about 2nd Story, can be found on its website.