CLUB LIFE: Students Become The Teachers

In the Spectrum, a campus community-outreach club, Haverford students lead activities to help local children with autism learn social skills and make friends.

What: Spectrum is a student-run community-outreach group that leads recreational activities to help local children with autism improve their social skills. Their goal is to create an environment where participants can interact in a non-classroom setting, make friends, and enjoy themselves without outside pressure.

Who: Lauren Benedetto ’18 runs the club as the community liaison, along with two co-heads: Site Coordinator Catherine Bunza ’18 and Intern Coordinator Kathryn Sommer ’17. The club currently has 12 student interns who oversee approximately 10 participants.

When: Spectrum meets in the Whitehead Campus Center on Thursday afternoons from 5–6 p.m. (Interns arrive earlier, at 4:30.) During each after-school session, the participants (who range in age from 6–18 years old) are split into age groups . Two interns each lead one activity, which is then divided into three subsections following the same theme (e.g., “under the water,” “spies,” etc.). Additionally, the interns are asked to incorporate a social skill into the different parts of the activity as well. They lead the activities once for the older students and again for the younger kids. Spectrum’s first session of the semester began on Thursday, Sept. 15, and the weekly program will run through Dec. 1, 2016.

Did you know: This semester marks Spectrum’s seventh year of existence at Haverford. The club used to have a partnership with Dragonfly Forest until three years ago, when the club partnered with Spectra Support Services, LLC.

Get involved: If interested, email any one of the co-heads: Sommer (, Benedetto (, or Bunza (


-Jenny Ahn ’17

Photo by Caleb Eckert ’17.