By Olivia Canter
On Sunday, April 28th, the Helping Young People Excel (H.Y.P.E) club hosted their exciting- spirited spring event. The guests were smiling and having an excellent time as the students encouraged and entertained them with games, drawings, and engaging conversations. This special occasion was a success, where the room was filled with lively music and happy laughs.
The H.Y.P.E. club is an interactive club in which Byram students organize activities to support and engage adults with special needs. H.Y.P.E. was started by Terry Yagoda, a previous physical education teacher, and the club has made a special impact on the members and clients. Through these events, students are able to foster a relationship with the developmentally disabled adults. Mrs. Lewis, the Advisor of H.Y.P.E. since 2005, explains that club members have “connect[ed] with members of the community outside of Byram Hills” and “developed strong relationships.” Annually, H.Y.P.E. hosts four events which feature fun games and delicious food.
These activities include a myriad of events, such as basketball, dancing, and musical chairs. Club member Olivia Scaglione describes the enthusiasm surrounding the games, stating “My favorite activity is playing musical chairs with the guests – we all get really into it, and it brings a smile to my face to see how happy the guests are no matter if they win or lose.”
In addition to musical chairs, the clients enjoy coloring activities, such as decorating masks, bags, and magnets. Lizzie Manowitz, a sophomore and member of H.Y.P.E., explains, “My favorite activity is doing crafts with the clients. I love seeing the enjoyment they get out of making cards and coloring bags to bring home their crafts in.” Lizzie further explains that her favorite memory is “seeing the clients having fun and enjoying themselves. The smiles on their faces when they win musical chairs, playing basketball or dancing is truly priceless.”
It is important to recognize that these exceptional community events would not be possible without the leaders of the club, who are dedicated to organizing the activities and making the events as successful as possible. These leaders include: Mrs. Lewis, the Advisor, Ms. Rentz, the Assistant Advisor, and Cecily Corpina, Alexa Schimel, Ben Kahn, and Sam Krevolin, the Presidents. Ms. Rentz explains that the best part of H.Y.P.E. is “making the clients happy” through the genuine and special student to guest bonding.
The activities of the club create excitement among the guests; however, the remarkable aspect of H.Y.P.E. mainly stems from sincere conversations between students and clients. Throughout the events and games, members buddy up with a guest and learn about their interests and hobbies, enabling for authentic conversations. Lorraine Disano, a sophomore, shares this is the greatest feature of H.Y.P.E., where she “can really get to know the guests” and learn about their “favorite songs, movies, colors, and games.”
All in all, the spring H.Y.P.E. session was very memorable, where students and clients bonded via conversations and exciting activities. Olivia Scaglione beautifully sums this up, noting “It reminds me that no matter what I may be going through there is always a reason to smile and be happy. The clients, despite their personal struggles, are always smiling and laughing. H.Y.P.E…gives students a hands on experience with impacting another person’s life, and it is truly life changing!”.