KPEC’s impact on the community during COVID

KPEC, an organization that empowers children with special needs, is working through the obstacles posed by the pandemic.

KPEC+members+stand+next+to+an+ice+cream+truck+during+an+outreach+event.

Cassandra Fleksher

KPEC members stand next to an ice cream truck during an outreach event.

Kinnelon Parents for Exceptional Children (KPEC) is an organization founded in 2017 that works in conjunction with the Kinnelon Schools and Special Services Department. Its mission is to empower children with special needs to maximize their potential.

KPEC has a KHS-based community service club that oversees twenty mentors at both PRM and KHS. The mentors undergo a four-hour training course on physical and learning disabilities. The training focuses on bringing awareness to a person’s ability rather than disability. KAMELOT municipal alliance, which works in partnership with KPEC, sponsors the training. Once mentors complete the training, they are able to host activities for children in the community.

Unfortunately, mentors are not meeting for in-person activities due to COVID. This has not deterred them from continuing to mentor students in town. A series of fall and winter activities are being offered via Zoom. “These activities give students an opportunity to interact in a fun and safe way experiencing social interactions even if this is virtual,” said Superintendent Diane DiGiuseppe. Zoom activities include Sports Talk, Bingo, Arts & Crafts, and a Disney Sing-Along.

Sophia Vitale, KPEC KHS President, enjoys making connections with the younger children in town saying, “Many children are feeling anxious and lonely these days, especially those students who are 100% virtual. Everyone needs a friend and our group of mentors are here for them.”

KPEC mentors meet monthly via Zoom. If any readers are interested in joining this community service club, please email [email protected]