New York man fosters connections for adults with developmental disabilities

A Westchester County man is using social media to help people disabilities, like himself, to make new connections online.

Brendan Klein, 25, created a private Facebook group called TicTacGo that is aimed at connecting young adults with developmental disabilities to have fun in the community together. The group is thriving, with hundreds of members.

Brendan works now at Westchester Institute for Human Development (WIHD).

Brendan said he and his mom worked on creating TicTacGo together.

"I started the group only because, after college, I lost touch with a lot of friends," he said, adding that he wanted to stay connected.

Naomi Brickell is the director of the Community Support Network at WIHD.

"At the Westchester Institute for Human Development, everything they do is about making better lives for people with disabilities and vulnerable children," he said. "We look for innovative things and when I heard what Brendan was doing I was like, this is game-changing work."

TicTacGo now has more than 230 members who attend events like concerts and fairs and go to the movies and bowling together.

Brendan created another group called GetWHIDit! Members of that group volunteer in the community and do good for others.

"We go all over Westchester and we plant veggies into the ground and as the veggies grow we donate them," he said.

Brendan recently received an award as a media innovator and spoke at a national conference in Washington, D.C.

Brickell said that she knew Brendan would be an asset to WIHD but even she was surprised by how well he has done.

"I didn't know he'd be such a rock star but I knew it was important work that we needed to get the word out," Brickell said. "Frequently, people who have disabilities are isolated and don't have the opportunity for friends and don't have the opportunity to give back."

Brendan said that everyone, whether they have a disability or not, should have the chance to connect with others.

For more information, see:


Get breaking news alerts in the FOX5NY News app. It is FREE!

Download for iOS or Android