During his senior year in the Center for Leadership and International Relations, Kevin Ivey implemented and led a support group for teens with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, two forms of irritable bowel disease (IBD), in conjunction with Saint Mary’s Hospital. As a teen with IBD himself, Kevin recognized a need for peer-to-peer sharing of IBD and its complications. The IBD Teen Support Group met bimonthly, where participants were able to share their issues related to their IBD. Discussion ranged from medication to diet to psychosocial elements of IBD to 504 plans and accommodations for learning. The meetings were held in a closed format, free from the oversight of worried parents, to facilitate open discussion.
All participants were open with each other, willing to share, yet willing to listen as well. The IBD Teen Support Group provided a great outlet for teens to see peers with IBD and connect with them.