High school sophomore starts program for special needs kids

| 30 Sep 2011 | 09:45

SPARTA — Jack Cubberly, a sophomore at Sparta High School has been an active member of Pass It Along for the past two years. Recently this past year after spending a day at Helen Morgan in a classroom with a K-2 class where his mother works as a special education aid. Cubberly recognized a need for an environment for children with special needs where they can socialize and interact with their peers. “When I asked the kids what they were going to do after school almost all of them said nothing. This made me realize that there needed to be something for them to do,” said Cubberly. With the idea blooming, Cubberly went to Pass It Along to explain his proposal of an after-school program to other teens and active Pass It Along members. After gathering his volunteers it was set that the group of eight high school students would spend every Tuesday for an hour with the children. “I started his program because children on the autism spectrum are often excluded from extracurricular activities,” said Cubberly. For the past six weeks the group of eight children ages 5 to 8 spent time after school engaging in games such as duck-duck goose, or just playing on the playground getting hands-on experience in a social setting with older high school students as well as friends their age. “We always have fun rain or shine; we play tons of games at fast paces to keep everyone active,” said Cubberly. Though the program has ended for the summer months, Cubberly plans to revamp his program come September, welcoming all new volunteers.