Students serving students

Student from the Marble Hill High School for International Studies gathered at the Kingsbridge Heights Community Center on Saturday to work with teens and young adults with special needs.

The event marked the first activity in what event organizers hope will be an ongoing program. After a team-building activity, program participants chose to go to one of three stations set up for the event and the 15 or so Marble Hill students involved worked with them on cooking and nutrition; exercise; and arts and crafts.

At the cooking station, attendees made spaghetti, salad, garlic bread and pudding. The exercise activity — the most popular — included sports and at the arts and crafts table participants created turkeys out of their handprints and other festive decorations, according to program coordinator Mai-Len Kennedy.

“I think it went great,” Ms. Kennedy said in a phone interview after the event. “I was really impressed. I think … [the Marble Hill] students, they were definitely,  … taken aback a little bit. For most of them it was their first experience working with people with disabilities ... but by the end of the day they loved it. They loved the Kingsbridge Heights students.”

Freshman Penelope Bencosme and junior Devon Dodson said they were “cautious” when they first entered KHCC and chose their words carefully. 

“It was a different experience. It was challenging because I didn’t know how to react. You don’t want to say or do anything that would set a certain child off,” Devon said.
But the students also said that by the end, they had a completely different take on developmentally disabled students.

Penelope, who worked at the arts and crafts station, said she enjoyed helping her partner draw a Christmas tree and a large Z, which was the first letter of the participant’s name.

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