What is CYB? Catch Your Breath is a friendship group for neurodiverse young people and an expression of hospitality offered by Manningham Uniting Church.
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Why is it called ‘Catch Your Breath’? The phrase ‘catch your breath’ commonly refers to the act of slowing down to enable you to breath normally after a period of intense physical exertion. Likewise, we live in a fast-paced world, bombarded by stimulation and mental challenges that can leave us emotionally breathless. We all benefit from dedicated opportunities to mentally slow down, collect our thoughts, share our feelings and ideas, and refresh our capacity to cope with life’s difficulties – to catch our emotional breath. We do this best in the company of friends.
Is CYB religious, and if so, why? While it is true that CYB’s leadership team endorses a Christian perspective on the world, we recognise the Christian church has much to answer for. The popular assumption that Christians are intolerant and moralising hypocrites is not without reason. At CYB, we prefer to characterise ourselves as flawed, but aspiring followers of Jesus who do not have all of the answers but are prepared to journey alongside others as we explore what faith and fellowship have to offer.
There is no presumption that participants subscribe to a Christian worldview. The hope behind this program is that participants will use this opportunity to regularly pause and catch their emotional breath, experience genuine Christian hospitality, and perhaps achieve a meaningful understanding of the role faith can have in helping us learn how to construct and live in a more just and humane world.
Is CYB LGBTQIA+ friendly? Absolutely! Our spaces and our people are open and welcoming to all members of the LGBTQIA+ community. We aim to be equally respectful and inclusive of all people.
Why was CYB created? The current generation of young people are socially aware, technically savvy, and spiritually curious as they confront a range of social and natural uncertainties that are unprecedented in the world. CYB aims to create a space that encourages questions, values critical thinking and personal reflection, and promotes a community of friendship and fellowship as they grapple with these questions.
The aim of this program is to help participants connect with a community of peers who share similar questions and challenges, make some friends, learn from one another, and experience Christian hospitality – all by creating a safe, non-judgmental social space to explore life’s questions, socialise and have fun.
Who should consider participating in CYB? All young people who identify as Neurodiverse between the ages of 12 and 16 are warmly invited to participate in CYB. Neurotypical young people are also welcome, but CYB is intended to create a space of friendship and fellowship that is primarily held by their Neurodiverse peers.
How do you define Neurodiversity? There is no single, comprehensive definition. However, for the purposes of CYB we generally apply this term as a reference to any young person who identifies with one or more of the following neuro-developmental conditions: Autism, Aspergers, ADHD, OCD, Tourettes, Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Motor Disability, Anxiety, Gender Dysphoria, Intellectual Disability, and more. If you feel you qualify as neurodiverse, then we accept that you do, and you are welcome!
We also recognise that neurodiversity is about variety in the way our brains function, and those differences produce a combination of strengths and challenges. We aim to foster a culture that treasures the strengths and copes with the challenges.
Neurodiversity may be every bit as crucial for the human raceHarvey Blume, The Atlantic, 1998
as biodiversity is for life in general. Who can say what form of wiring will prove
best at any given moment?
What Might a Typical Meeting Look Like
We aim to meet every two weeks on a Friday evening between 6:30-8:30pm in the new Community Centre operated by Manningham Uniting Church. In addition to an auditorium, we have access to breakout rooms and a lounge area for games and socialising, a large kitchen and dining space to share a meal (provided by MUC), and an onsite café space for parents and carers to hangout and socialise among themselves.
Ideally, each meeting would be generally structured as follows:
- A 15-minute arrival/settling period.
- Roughly 20 minutes to share a meal and socialise in pairs or small groups. Parents and carers are encouraged to participate in the meal if they wish. Afterward, they are encouraged to remain onsite in a dedicated Hover Zone space in our café.
- Followed by a brief group discussion period (not more than 20 mins), led by an adult facilitator, to check in as a group and explore a particular theme or question identified by the group as something they wish to examine.
- This would then be followed by approximately an hour (or more) devoted to supervised, but free association (i.e., bring your favourite games, hangout, sit and talk over refreshments, etc). We recognise that not every person is going to enjoy hanging out with every other person, and no group can be all things to everyone in that group. We will have games and activities on hand, and Child Safe, adult volunteers who understand the complexities of neurodiversity and are available to encourage, but not try to force interaction.
- We will also have an adult on hand to provide hospitality to parents and carers in the café Hover Zone space.