An exciting VA meeting in Lyon

The 23rd VA volunteers’ meeting was held in Lyon on 1-2 October. 53 people came from across France to share their experiences, find information and learn more.

Every year, all of the VA volunteers gather at the organisation’s annual meeting, which provides an opportunity to talk about their involvement and their experiences. Alain André, the Chair of VA, opened the meeting, which continued with a series of presentations by different speakers: Pascale Paturle, the autism philanthropy manager, Jean-Paul Dionisi from ARAPI, a French autism research organisation, and Dr Sonié, the medical coordinator of the CRA Rhônes-Alpes autism centre. Last but not least, Arthur Lefevre, a member of Angela Sirigu’s team at the neuroscience research centre in Lyon, presented the state of the art in research on autism. The first day of the event offered a tremendous amount of information, as Xavier, a VA volunteer, confirms: "It’s always interesting to come and immerse yourself in this charity, which is really active and worth your interest."

The volunteers concentrating hard on the presentations.
Brigitte Audy, centre, with Alain André (left), Chair of VA and Olivier Faure, the Orange France Senior Vice President for the Centre-East region.

The second day was structured around workshops on sensory differences (Miguel Martinez), sexuality (Sophie Kiszko), family relationships (Nihel Ben Hamadi) and digital tablets (Françoise Infante and Michel Senaux). This portion of the event also provided an opportunity for participants to continue their discussion in "a wonderful atmosphere" according to Martine, "with really interesting exchanges between the volunteers and speakers."

Following a review of the charity’s operations, the event ended with speeches from Alain André, the Chair of VA, Olivier Faure, the Orange France Senior Vice President for the Centre-East region, and finally Brigitte Audy, Secretary General of the Orange Foundation. All of them evoked the importance of our commitment to autism and that of the volunteers’ work in support of families. Odile says, "These two days helped us listen to one another and get along better with VA! It’s an exciting event and gave us the energy to go back home and continue our work!"


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