Next Chapter Book Club finds ways to meeting during COVID-19 pandemic

Next Chapter Book Club has continued to meet virtually

LELAND, N.C. (WECT) - COVID-19 has changed how we do many things and that includes the Next Chapter Book Club.

The Next Chapter is a community-based book club program for teens and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The coronavirus pandemic may be keeping the group from meeting in person, but it hasn’t stopped the members from getting together. They just do it online instead of at the coffee shop.

“It’s different like anything else,” said Tom Fish Coastal Buds Board Chair. “The epidemic has presented challenges. But at the same time, we’re learning to deal with it and people are adapting very well I think.”

Fish started the club nearly 20 years ago when he lived in Columbus Ohio. Two years ago, when he moved to Leland, Fish wanted to start a chapter here. It might be just an hour a week, but that hour is very important to the club members.

“It’s the highlight of their week for many people,” said Fish. “It’s not the book club members who are excited but also the volunteers. It’s part of their life. It’s like being in a bowling league you know you’re going to do something on Wednesday afternoons.”

The club members pick the books they read, and they don’t have to read out loud. In fact, for some members, the weekly time together means more than reading.

“The beauty of the reading is it allows people who have been marginalized in their lives to be able to talk about how they feel and what they think and what they believe in,” said Fish. “They don’t have that option very much oftentimes.”

Copyright 2020 WECT. All rights reserved.