By: Kendall Serena
When walking around the halls of JCHS it’s common to spot a flyer with information about an extracurricular activity; however, the Self Advocacy Club is one of the lesser known clubs. The Self-Advocacy Club has a very powerful goal about which more students should know. The purpose of the club is for high school students to visit kids in the middle or elementary schools who are in the Individualized Education Program which gives certain students a second teacher and modified tests to assist their learning. Each member has a “buddy,” who is student who ranges from grades 1 to 5, and helps him or her understand that it’s okay to have an assistant in class. The Caldwell- West Caldwell School District is proudly one of the few districts in the area to offer such a program.
The Self-Advocacy Club members visit the elementary schools more often than the middle school and normally meet the kids in the gym after school and play all sorts of games with them, as well as answer any of the questions that the kids have and give them tips for the future. Junior Elizabeth Cofone described the trips as an experience that brings her a lot of joy for numerous reasons. When asked about the club Cofone stated that she felt a “sense of nostalgia when retuning to the schools and seeing how much the setting has changed, especially when playing with the toys because when we were at that age we all played Tamogotchis, but when seeing the kids now, a great amount of them have iPhones and iPads!”
Although the club is not advertised as much, anyone can join no matter who you are and new members are always welcome. Junior Nina Butterly states that “one of the great things about the Self- Advocacy club is that it shows fellow students that you shouldn’t feel singled out for needing a little extra help, as well as letting the kids know that they are just as normal as everyone else.” If anyone is interested in joining the club, they should see teachers Mrs. Kyle and Mrs. Hart for more information. The Self- Advocacy club is a great club with a wonderful message and an eye-opening experience for those involved.