WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A handful of young people meet at iCan House in Downtown Winston-Salem once a week to play games, participate in guided conversations and make friends. They are apart of the iClub, working on skills that are essential for success but don’t always come naturally.
“This is a place of belonging,” said Kim Shufran, executive director and founder of iCan House. “Children, teens and adults can come to learn social skills, communication skills and life skills.”
The non-profit serves those who are “neuro-diverse,” meaning they process things a little differently. Some may have been diagnosed with autism or ADHD, but not all of them have a diagnosis at all.
“Whether there is a diagnosis or not, these children, these teens and adults are neuro-diverse,” said Shufran. “What we’re teaching at iCan house are skills that are going to help them as they encounter obstacles and challenges along the way.”
Multiple clubs meet here throughout the week with programming catered to specific age groups. Shufran developed iCan House in 2008 while raising her daughter Erica who is neuro-diverse.
“I was seeking a place for her to learn these skills and to meet others who were like me and like her, and in fact, I couldn’t find any place,” Shufran said. “I realized through meeting other parents in the community that there were others in the same situation that I was in.”
Today iCan House serves hundreds of children and adults starting as early as age 8. Within its walls, iCan House turns “I can’t” into “I can.”
“Who we are in the community is really an essential resource and a place of belonging for those who feel either left out, teased or fall between the cracks for a variety of reasons,” said Shufran.
The Winston-Salem Foundation provided a $17,500 grant for an iCan House program coordinator for a third year.