Support Groups, Social Groups and Events

How do our support groups work?

Photo by monkeybusinessimages/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by monkeybusinessimages/iStock / Getty Images














We currently offer two support groups per month, one usually held on the second Wednesday, located in a conference room in a midtown office building on 27th Street, between Broadway and 6th Avenue. The other, usually scheduled for the third Saturday of each month, located at the New York Public Library, main branch (Stephen A. Schwartzman Building) at 5th Avenue and 42nd. Modeled after the 1970’s style Rap Sessions, our support groups are small with no more than 15 people. They are informal and provide a relaxed, comfortable and judgment-free atmosphere.  Most of the support groups are facilitated by AFSS Executive director, Stephen Katz.

Each group lasts two hours and starts with a theme.  In the past, themes have included community, relationships and dating and getting out of a rut. For example, we discussed what it means to be part of a community and what an ideal community would be like. Other examples have included "breaking the mold," changing things up and keeping it fresh. How do we get out of a rut, do something different to make our lives more full and interesting, and how to develop healthy friendships, romantic and business relationships.We then let the conversation evolve during the session allowing members to relate their own personal stories to the group.

We usually go out to eat after each group session, offering additional opportunity to socialize and continue our group discussion.

How do our social groups work?

Our social groups usually meet three times a month, usually the first Sunday, the second Saturday and the fourth Sunday. During the warmer months, the first group is a picnic, located on a terrace that is a public space in my apartment building in the Chelsea section of Manhattan. We ask each member to bring their own lunch as well as something to share. During the colder months, we try different restaurants throughout the city or do cultural events like going to museums. The second social group usually meets the second Saturday of each month and is held at the same location, allowing for some feeling of routine. This is usually at a diner located in the Gramercy section of Manhattan. We chose a diner because it has a wide variety of food choices to accommodate the largest number of tastes and dietary restrictions. The third social group is held on the fourth Sunday at an ethnic restaurant. In the past we’ve tried Mongolian, Thai and now we are going to a Ramen noodle restaurant.

Our social groups provide a sense of community for individuals who may not otherwise have many opportunities to socialize, to have somewhere to go on a regular basis that is a relaxed comfortable judgment free atmosphere where people can be themselves amongst others sharing similar difficulties and interests. For the most part, these social events are just like any other. We provide just enough boundaries to make it a safe space. 

How do our cultural events work?

We recently added cultural events to our schedule, including trips to The Metropolitan Museum of Art (with a private tour and a specialized art project for our group), the Museum of Modern Art, The New York Historical Society (Superheroes in Gotham and Silicon City exhibits), plus visits to restaurants to sample the cuisines of different cultures.