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Club provides kindness and belonging for teens with autism

Posted at 2:47 PM, Apr 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-01 18:21:02-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — If there is one thing 15-year-old Mason Cox knows, it is vintage appliances.

The Lexington teen collects them and repairs them but finding someone his age to connect with is not always easy. He has autism, and with that can come social challenges.

"It's not common you find someone in middle school that's interested in appliances and retro-tech as he talks about it," said Trevor Cox, Mason's dad.

Now Mason is part of something called E's Club. It's an organization for teens and young adults just like him. Mason's dad, Trevor, is on the board for the Kentucky chapter and he knew this would be perfect for his son.

"There's no judgment, there's not pretenses, you do as much or as little as you want," Trevor said.

"I met another kid who really likes retro-tech like I do, and we've exchanged numbers and now we talk on the regular," Mason added.

Nichole Burroughs is the executive director of Erin's Hope For Friends, founded in honor of Erin Horst. Horst was a 17-year-old girl who lived with what's formerly known as Asperger's Syndrome. Her parents knew something like E's Club would have changed her life.

"Acceptance and kindness. That's how we become a better society, and that's why this club is so wonderful because we live in that mentality," Burroughs explained.

That is just what Mason has found. Even through the pandemic, he has been meeting over the internet with his new friends, playing games, watching movies and making connections. One he knows will last a lifetime.

"We wouldn't have ever found each other if it weren't for this," Mason said. "It makes me feel absolutely wonderful. I feel like I'm not alone anymore."

Right now, the Kentucky chapter is raising funds for a physical meeting place. Mason said he looks forward to coming face-to-face with his new friends. His community. Where he feels at home.

"It feels absolutely wonderful to have some people who could just understand and just get my kind of crazy," Mason said.

Click here for more information on E's Club, including how to donate or join.