Delaware County arcade helps employees with special needs score big

MEDIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "I want to pursue stuff in life and I will not let autism get in the way of making me achieve my dreams," said 19-year-old Zachary Paikoff.

Paikoff and his brother, Ezra, are employed by the TOPS Shop, a store managed by current and former students at Penncrest High School.

"We partnered with many community businesses, to allow our students to really learn how to work," said Dr. Tiffany Orrin, Supervisor of Transition Programs for Rose Tree Media School District.

One of those businesses is "Game on State," a new arcade which is now the home of the TOPS Shop. The nostalgic gaming center was also created with the intention of employing those with special needs.

The idea sparked last year during the pandemic when Aimee Rubin's son was struggling to find a stable job due to anxiety and minor neurological challenges.

"I found that there was a big hole between the ages of 18-21 for kids who weren't necessarily taking the direct path to college or trade school," said Rubin. "We kind of became passionate about creating an environment that used customized and supported employment for individuals with special needs."
These opportunities have given individuals like Zachary Paikoff the confidence to work, interact with customers, and inspire others in similar circumstances.

"If you have a dream, follow it. Don't let anything stop you. Don't let anything get in the way," he said. "Anything is possible and if you put in the work, anything can happen."

To learn more about Rose Tree Media School District or Game on State, visit their websites.

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