Living on the Autism Spectrum
Autistic teens and young adults find it challenging to interact with others. They have issues making and maintaining friendships because they have difficulty understanding common gestures and social cues. They find it frustrating and emotionally draining to try to fit in. They long for friends but often feel shy or intimidated when approaching peers.
Autistic individuals are intelligent, caring, and are often misunderstood and many fall subject to bullying and social isolation. Depression rates are higher in autistic youth than in the general population. This loneliness does immeasurable damage to their sense of self-worth and can take over their lives.
However, there is hope.
Erin’s Hope for Friends bridges the gap for autistic teens and young adults by providing a safe place to make friends. e’s Club is focused on facilitating positive social interactions for our members.
Erin’s Hope for Friends is on a mission to create lasting relationships through joyful interactions for autism spectrum teens and young adults.
At Erin’s Hope for Friends, we believe in...
The proactive prevention of bullying through safe social environments.
Fostering awareness and providing educational opportunities for both our neurotypical and neurodiverse populations.
The importance of friendship, because just one friend can change the course of one’s life.
The promotion of acceptance of all individuals.
Darren and Stacy Horst’s 17-year-old daughter Erin was a gentle and talented girl who faced many challenges, primarily what is formerly known as Asperger’s Syndrome. The couple lost their beloved daughter too soon, but they aspire to allow Erin’s compassionate spirit to live on through charity. The Horst family founded Erin’s Hope for Friends in loving memory of Erin to help teens struggling with autism make meaningful and lasting social connections.
Founded in 2014 in metro Atlanta, Erin’s Hope for Friends welcomed members to connect at e’s Club locations. These spaces were filled with opportunities for conversation, games, creativity, and friendships. The pandemic of 2020 forced a re-structuring of the charity and by late March 2020, staff created a virtual experience for members using the Zoom platform. Programming appeals to the interests of members, increases social interactions and supports neuro-diverse relationships. The physical clubs will re-open in 2021.
The Story of Our Founding
e's Club: Out of Tragedy Comes Hope
Learn how Darren and Stacy Horst have kept the memory of their daughter alive, and how they honor her with their founding of Erin's Hope For Friends.
Learn more about our work through the year.
Find out more by contacting us.