PARAMUS, N.J. -- "We have help today!" Margaret, a Spectrum for Living resident shouted with a smile. The Pure Hearts Association of Paramus High School came to volunteer on Wednesday, April 6.
The high school club assisted with an arts and crafts project during the drop-in program run by Spectrum for Living weekly. It offers a chance for residents to gather together during the week and participate in a series of activities hosted by organization's Central Recreation program.
The club members focus on spreading awareness about developmental disabilities, and enriching the lives of those affected by both physical and intellectual disabilities.
"Program participants look forward to spending time with this vibrant and passionate group of students," a news released noted. "The students, likewise, are enjoying the time they spend with their new friends."
These busy students take time out of their busy schedules frequently. Favorite programs include singing and dancing with the participants at the facility's "canteens," assisting with arts and crafts, cooking, or just hanging out to watch a movie.
Pure Hearts President Rebecca Gjini explained that when a fellow student recommended she join the club a few years ago, she couldn't have predicted the impact it would have on her.
"It's opened me up to whole different view point and it's helped me grow as a person," she said. "It's also given me a lot of great experiences that I never thought I would have."
The club also dedicates time to Camp Acorn of Allendale, a day camp for children with disabilities. The group also plans to host events of its own for individuals with special needs early next year -- and hopes the community will come together and take part in celebrating its mission.
"Volunteering gives us a good feeling inside because we're helping people other than ourselves, it's fulfilling," Gjini said.
Spectrum for Living facilities and services assist individuals with developmental disabilities in over 100 New Jersey communities, providing an array of housing, medical, clinical, rehabilitative, social and educational services.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.