Virtual Young Adult Meetings Create New Connections in the FOP Community

“My goal is for attendees to leave these sessions with a sense of empowerment,” said Holly LaPrade. “I want people to experience the connection that exists in the FOP community, and to have the opportunity to bond with other people in their age group.”

Holly LaPrade is a young woman with FOP living in Connecticut. When the IFOPA put out its “Call for Family Gathering Speakers” last year, Holly was inspired to offer a session specifically for young adults. Since then, two more virtual meetings have been held in January and February of 2022.

Holly has led several workshops within the FOP community since her diagnosis in 1997. She served as co-chair of the family workshop committee for a past IFOPA Family Gathering, and led several workshops at that event including a session on adaptive hair and makeup. She also led a teen workshop at an IFOPA Young Adult Gathering in San Diego.

Holly was motivated to offer a virtual gathering space for young adults due to her own experience of learning from her mentors in the FOP community. As a newly diagnosed young adult, she formed cherished friendships with many adults in the community, including Jeannie Peeper, Theresa Caruso and Nancy Sando. She is hopeful that her newly formed group will offer a similar experience, and opportunities for young adults to bond and connect with each other.

The Virtual Young Adult Meetings are open to people living with FOP between the ages of 18 and 40. They’re facilitated through a private Facebook group, and the meetings are hosted on Zoom. LaPrade encourages feedback from the group’s participants in order to make the meetings as interesting and informative as possible.

“I would love to hear from individuals on the topics they would like to discuss during our meetings,” she said. “If our participants have interest in hearing from a guest speaker on a certain subject or would like to present on a topic they have personal experience in, I encourage them to reach out to me anytime.”

LaPrade is especially excited about the virtual group because it allows people with FOP from different countries to participate.

“The best part about the ability to meet virtually is that it enables the participants to meet new friends that live all over the world,” she said.

Please contact Holly LaPrade to join the Young Adult Virtual Meet-up Group. Holly can be reached via Facebook messenger, email: [email protected] or text: +1 203 410 9168.

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