NEWTOWN, Pa. (WTXF) - Eighth graders at Newtown Middle School participated in a game night lock-in tonight. But the night isn't about the 8th graders. It's the children they invited as their guests.
"These kids don’t engage in a typical environment and they don’t do well being judged or on a regular sports field," said Kate Polhamus. Her 12-year old son Braeden is one of the guests. He and the others invited have autism. The Newtown Middle eighth graders agreed to put down their cellphones for the night to have a playdate with the other kids in an environment that's stress-free and non-judgmental.
"At this age they can tell they're a little bit different in gym class, that they're physical ability, emotional ability or social ability is a little bit different. So in an environment like this they're able to interact with their peers," said Polhamus. Eighth graders Martin and Joseph encouraged one little boy in a game of bean toss which by the way he was perfect at it.
"I was nervous too once I heard we were with the kids but not now I've gotten used to it and I'm actually having a good time and it feels so good to finally do something like this," said Martin Zaksauskas. His friend Joseph Borden agrees.
"It feels good to like give kids a chance that don't get to go to things like this. It feels good to give them a chance to have fun with us," said Borden. Principal Tim Long says his school has raised money for autism for several years now. Linda Cooper’s foundation will benefit from tonight.
"It’s overwhelming with joy to see the miles of smiles on their faces. It tells the whole story. They're having fun especially with buddies from this school. It teaches them acceptance and love," said Cooper co-founder of Autism Cares Foundation.
The event was also a fundraiser. Each Newtown Middle student raised or donated 25 dollars to participate. That money goes to fund other activities for children living with autism.