‘The Spot’ offers opportunity for all students

The space at the Voorhees Town Center offers a safe, controlled environment for students to play games and activities and interact with one another outside of school

As another school year is in full swing, students are often looking for activities to do after school to stay active.

Now in its 10th year, The Spot on the second floor of the Voorhees Town Center offers a place for middle and high school students to hang out and interact with others on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 to 5:30 p.m.

Created by the Berlin-Gibbsboro-Voorhees Municipal Alliance, it offers a safe, controlled environment where students can play video games, pool, foosball and other activities, or listen to music and read books or magazines. Theoretically, everything a middle or high school kid would want to do can be found in the space.

Eastern Camden County Regional School District Board of Education member Elena Chow, who volunteers throughout the year at The Spot alongside teachers and aides, says the need for such a space is very important and available to all who are interested.

“We’re open to the community and outside organizations, they can certainly use the space as well,” Chow said. “We really wanted this area for the kids. We just felt there was a need; all the kids that usually come here live in the immediate area.”

Another component of The Spot that just recently started this year was the weekly visit from Eastern Regional High School students with developmental disabilities, while accompanied by teachers or aides. The Spot offers a safe, controlled environment for them to interact with one another and be able to have fun outside of a school setting.

These students come on Mondays from 3 to 4:30 p.m., with interns from Bishop Eustace Preparatory School volunteering their time to interact with the students and help them as well, such as by running a snack stand and creating and leading games for the group, such as scavenger hunts or musical chairs.

Greg Chase, a life skills teacher, spends much of his days with the students with developmental disabilities, and appreciates opportunities like this on Mondays for other people to be able to interact with the kids.

“It’s a nice variety for them to be able to get out in the community and interact with other students from other schools,” Chase said. “A lot of our clubs are right there at the school and don’t give them the chance to get exposure and feel their way around the community a little. A lot of their activities are more isolating.”

The Spot offers plenty of activities and space for the two groups of students to interact, so throughout the Monday while the two are together, they will plan plenty of activities to make sure that there isn’t any downtime with nothing to do.

For example, after group activities, the Bishop Eustace students lead the way with one-on-one interaction between the students. They can help them with problems, talk to them or teach them how to play games, such as pool or air hockey to help take charge.

“Because that’s one of the difficult things our population has, they don’t know really how to take initiative with other people,” Chase said. “We take it for granted that we can just socialize with other people, but they don’t. They’ll go right to electronics, but we try to play down the electronics here and get them off the couch and interacting.”

Brian Hutchison, a senior at Bishop Eustace, is one of the interns who volunteers his time at The Spot on Mondays. Through the school, students are obligated to accomplish a certain number of community service hours each week, something he enjoys since being a part of The Spot.

“I like working with people like this,” Hutchison said. “I think it’s super important, because at least from what I’ve seen, they don’t get to have something like this often.”

The Spot is open to being able to host activities for students now that school is back in action. Email misskathyatthespot@gmail.comfor more information.