The Play Unified club at Chatham High School had a busy fall with inclusion and lots of exciting activities for club members at Chatham High School and ECLC of New Jersey. The club has already held five social nights, a unified soccer season, and special Learn Unified events that bring the students of ECLC to Chatham High School once a month for a day of learning and socializing. Most recently, the club held an evening Holiday Social at Chatham High School and began their Unified Basketball season.
Junior Claire Silverstein, a member of the Play Unified Leadership Team, said, “I’ve been in the club for three years now, and I’ve made some really meaningful and unexpected friendships. It’s incredible to see how other students are forming these friendships and contributing to something so impactful. Anytime I go to a Play Unified event, I know it’s going to make my day so much better.”
The club has been recognized by Special Olympics New Jersey for the past four years as an official Play Unified program for its fourth year, receiving funding to help the club run their various events and programs.
The club has been connecting students at Chatham High School with students at ECLC for nine years; it was founded by Olivia Perlmutter, a Chatham High School student, in 2011. Her mission was to unite her school with her sister’s school, ECLC.
Four years ago, the club was officially recognized as a Play Unified program. Now, the club has grown to include just under 300 Chatham High School members and over 50 ECLC members. Being recognized by the Special Olympics and receiving grants has allowed the club to continue to grow and provide such amazing opportunities for inclusion between all students.
So far, the club has hosted their fall Teen Nights, the most attended event the club holds, a Learn Unified event at CHS each month, Unified Soccer, a Holiday get together hosted at Chatham High School, and it has even begun its Unified Basketball season. The club also raised $272.50 for Special Olympics NJ through the Cool School Challenge Plunge in Asbury Park.
The Teen Nights are always a favorite for students at either school. Teen Nights are an event that lasts for two hours each Tuesday night for four weeks where students from Chatham High School are paired up with students from ECLC to play games, dance, sing, make crafts, and just have a great time together. After four weeks of fun, students from both schools walk away with amazing and strong friendships.
Soccer was a blast as well. Unfortunately, the statewide tournament fell on a rainy day and had to be canceled, but athletes from each school still got to hang out and practice their soccer skills or compete against other unified teams in games each weekend this fall. Unified soccer is a great way for students from either school to build teamwork, communication, and simultaneously have a great time hanging out with their friends.
As the club looks to the winter months, students are looking forward to continued Learn Unified events each month, the addition of the winter social event, local basketball tournaments and participation in the NJSIAA Unified State basketball tournament, and the start of bowling as an activity.
2019 Final Teen Night
Play Unified’s Holiday Party!