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There’s No “I” in Teen Club

Seniors Devyn Meyer and Aaliyeh Habibi work with kids with developmental disabilities

Senior+Aaliyeh+Habibi+and+junior+Alex+Connolly+play+Uno.+Habibi+helps+the+Teen+Club+every+day+after+school.+They+participate+in+activities+such+as+baking%2C+board+games+and+crafts.+Teen%0AClub+is+a+branch+of+Community+Living.+Community+Living+offers+different+social+opportunities%2C+employment+opportunities+and+support+services+for+kids+and+adults+with+special+needs.
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There’s No “I” in Teen Club

Senior Aaliyeh Habibi and junior Alex Connolly play Uno. Habibi helps the Teen Club every day after school. They participate in activities such as baking, board games and crafts. Teen
Club is a branch of Community Living. Community Living offers different social opportunities, employment opportunities and support services for kids and adults with special needs.

Senior Aaliyeh Habibi and junior Alex Connolly play Uno. Habibi helps the Teen Club every day after school. They participate in activities such as baking, board games and crafts. Teen Club is a branch of Community Living. Community Living offers different social opportunities, employment opportunities and support services for kids and adults with special needs.

Photographer Isabella Schneider

Senior Aaliyeh Habibi and junior Alex Connolly play Uno. Habibi helps the Teen Club every day after school. They participate in activities such as baking, board games and crafts. Teen Club is a branch of Community Living. Community Living offers different social opportunities, employment opportunities and support services for kids and adults with special needs.

Photographer Isabella Schneider

Photographer Isabella Schneider

Senior Aaliyeh Habibi and junior Alex Connolly play Uno. Habibi helps the Teen Club every day after school. They participate in activities such as baking, board games and crafts. Teen Club is a branch of Community Living. Community Living offers different social opportunities, employment opportunities and support services for kids and adults with special needs.

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As the shrill bell rings at the end of the school day, senior Aaliyeh Habibi heads to the school lobby. There, she finds a group of people waiting patiently for her to arrive. These students are part of an organization called Teen Club. This is a program for individuals ages 12-21 with developmental disabilities enrolled in middle or high school. Habibi and senior Devyn Meyer have worked for Teen Club ever since October, when they heard about this possibility through another friend who worked there at the time.

Junior Alex Connolly tells a joke at Teen Club. Teen Club is every day after school in room
161. In Teen Club they play Uno, play video games, go on different field trips and many
different activities.

“It sounded like a cool opportunity because I was looking for a job,” Meyer said. “I’d rather do something that is helpful and a good experience than work at a restaurant.”

Teen Club is a program out of Community Living, a local organization that works to help people with disabilities thrive in the community. They have several different locations in school districts like Fort Zumwalt, Wentzville and St. Charles. They work to assist parents with maintaining their employment by offering care for their kids while family members work. Meyer works at the Hollenbeck location while Habibi works at FHN. They meet at the main lobby at 2 p.m. every day to get started, then head to room 161 for the rest of the day.

“The program builds confidence and socialization skills in a safe and supportive environment at various sites throughout St. Charles County,” Kristen Paez, program director of Teen Club, said. “[Teen Club] has given the kids a sense of belonging and the opportunity to develop friendships. Also, the parents love that their kids get to have so many new experiences.”

Every week day from 2-6 p.m., Meyer and Habibi work with kids with disabilities ranging from autism to epilepsy. They play with the kids, do arts and crafts, go on field trips and build relationships with the kids. The kids also set goals for the day, so it is Meyer’s and Habibi’s job to help the kids reach those goals.

“It’s become more than just a job,” Meyer said. “It’s nice to get paid for it, but it’s kind of my social life, too. I love all the people I work with, and it’s fun to share our experiences. The kids just put you in such a good mood, unless it’s a bad day, but it’s really rewarding and I look forward to it every day.”

Photographer Isabella Schneider
Seniors Devyn Meyer and Aaliyeh Habibi work at Teen Club. Along with working at Teen
Club, both are Student Council Cabinet members and are heavily involved in extracurricular
activities.

Before they were able to start working, they had to undergo orientation and training to get more comfortable with some situations that might occur. Now, they attend trainings as they work, further developing their skills. Because of their training and understanding of how to handle different scenarios, Meyer and Habibi have grown closer with the kids. Every day, they have different activities. They are able to laugh, play games, watch movies and enjoy the company.

“I like hanging out and just getting to know all the kids because they’re so cute,” Meyer said. “It’s just fun to get closer to them. I’ve learned how to interact and be with kids with developmental disabilities because there’s not very much exposure to that in real life. It’s nice to become more comfortable with it and know what to expect.”

Although Meyer and Habibi were hired to impact the lives of the kids, the kids also affected them and their future. Both have learned many important lessons from this job, but Habibi has decided that she may want to further her experience.

“I’ve learned a lot of patience working with these kids,” Habibi said. “I feel like the kids have taught me a lot, even though I’m there to teach them. They’re all just so happy all the time and it’s so fun working with them. Now that I’ve learned so much, I’m actually thinking about going into special education. [This job] helped me figure out what I love to do.”

 

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There’s No “I” in Teen Club