Developing motor skills

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Boys & Girls Club ‘Deconstruction Zone’ has long list

  • Jaxon Sevcech, 7, watches as volunteer Mickey Moskovitz explains how a DVD disc drawer works. The “Deconstruction Zone” at the Three Rivers Boys and Girls Club is a popular once-a-week class.
    Jaxon Sevcech, 7, watches as volunteer Mickey Moskovitz explains how a DVD disc drawer works. The “Deconstruction Zone” at the Three Rivers Boys and Girls Club is a popular once-a-week class.
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As a volunteer at the Three Rivers Boys and Girls Club in Ellijay, Mickey Moskovitz says one of his goals is to show kids “there’s always a way to do something.” His self-styled “Deconstruction Zone” class one afternoon each week is one of the most popular activities at the after-school club — in fact, there’s a list of three dozen students waiting to get in.

“I really look forward to it, and when I don’t do it for some reason or another, I miss it,” he said. “I get to know the kids and speak into their lives for a little bit.”

Moskovitz is a retired electrician, plumber and maintenance technician with Gilmer County Schools. When he’s volunteering, there’s a constant background noise of kids playing in the Civic Center gym. However, there’s another sound that rings out in his adjoining classroom — “Mr. Mickey! Mr. Mickey!” He moves around the room to each plea of his charges, teaching and encouraging as he goes.

Volunteer Mickey Moskovitz explains to Natalie Chavez, 10, how a clothes iron works. She had just taken it apart in the “Deconstruction Zone” of the Three Rivers Boys and Girls Club.

The dialogue is continual as he takes a step or two from one child to another. Jaxon Sevcech was working on the door of a torn-apart DVD player.

“Let’s see if this one will open, or close,” Moskovitz said to Jaxon. “See, it’s trying to move. Watch this, watch it move … See how it jumped up? But there’s not quite enough power.”

“Why’s it jumping up?” asked Jaxon, age 7.

“Well, because it’s jammed somehow. It won’t let the drawer come out …”

Jaxon used a 9-volt battery to make contact with points on the DVD motor to open the disk drawer, then was shown how to turn the battery around to make the drawer slide back in. 

“There ya go!” Moskovitz exclaimed.

Then to another student: “Did you get the fan out yet? Let’s get this fan out, and see if it works. We want to get the fan out, because that’s something you can take home and show your mom and dad.”

“This class is probably the most popular one with certain-age kids,” Moskovitz continued. “They love to take things apart, and we have to remember what the tools are — screwdrivers, Phillips or straight — (and instructions like) ‘lefty loosey’ and ‘righty tighty’. North Georgia Computer (Brokers) is really nice to let us get (old computers), and Faith, Hope and Charity lets me get (items) that are in the back of the store.

“I try to teach them there’s always a way to do something. I’ve been teaching in the Deconstruction Zone almost two years now. Maybe some of them might become interested in becoming an electrician or a plumber, or do some other work with their hands. As you know, not everybody is outfitted for college.”

“I love doing this stuff,” Harley Baughman, 13, interjected. He serves as Moskovitz’s assistant, carrying a walkie-talkie on his belt and listening if the front desk pages a student in the class for parent pick-up.

“See, you’ll probably be a computer builder or something like that,” Moskovitz said.

“I want to do welding,” Harley said.

“You can do welding,” Moskovitz responded. “But you know what’s in real hot demand right now? Electronics experts with cars. Cars have as many electronics as anything. Everywhere you look, there’s a computer in a car.”

Natalie Chavez, 10, was dissembling a clothes iron. When asked what she liked about the class, she replied, “I like taking apart stuff, ‘cause I’m really curious about things.”

August David, 6, was also enthusiastic. While working on a coffeepot, he explained, “We take apart stuff, and we get to take some home.”

None of the electric or electronics items are plugged into a wall socket.

Moskovitz only takes four to five youngsters at a time into the 90-minute class so he can utilize his time with each child. The following week, he takes the next few kids on the list.

Club director Crystal Bates noted Moskovitz’s class is popular.

“I have a long list for his Deconstruction Zone,” she affirmed. “When the kids come out of the class, they’re going to come to me and say, ‘Sign me up again’ so they can go again.”

What does it mean to club kids for an adult to come in and share their work and life skills?

“The kids love it and I love it, because (the adults) are still able to do what they’ve always enjoyed doing,” she said. “And they’re teaching the kids how to do something they love. In Mickey’s class, they love taking things apart!”