'Rupert's Kids' Set To Open Arcade This Weekend in Shelbyville
Pictured above (left to right): Kori Buster, Josh Clarkson, Rupert Boneham and Garrett O'Dell inside Rupert's Kids Arcade and Party Room in downtown Shelbyville. Photo Credit: C.J. Miller / WIBC.
SHELBYVILLE, Ind. – The first thing that I saw when I walked into Rupert’s Kid's Arcade and Party Room at 48 Public Square in Shelbyville, aside from approximately 20 pinball and arcade games, was the man with the long beard, tie-dyed tank top, gravelly laugh and infectious smile who is well known to Hoosiers across central Indiana.
You may know Rupert Boneham from having seen him as a contestant four times on the reality game show Survivor (including once with his wife Laura in 2013). He also ran as the Libertarian candidate for Indiana governor in 2012. Even though he eventually lost to Mike Pence, he received over 101,000 votes statewide.
Today, Rupert is heavily involved with Rupert’s Kids, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which provides a mentoring and job training program for troubled teens and young adults. His home base is in Shelbyville, where his foundation has purchased several homes throughout the area and remodeled them using many of the young people who he hopes will be able to use their on-the-job training and Rupert’s referral to find themselves a full-time job on their own instead of abusing drugs or reverting to a life of crime.
“[We’re] teaching young men and women that work is the way to the future, [that] work is the way to your freedom. So many young men and women come out of the detention center with five, ten or more ways of making an illegal living and no one out there helping them make that legal living.
“We either create career workers or criminal criminals. One or the other is going to happen, and I’d much rather be creating career workers,” says Rupert.
As an additional way to support Rupert’s Kids, Boneham is opening Rupert’s Kids Arcade and Party Room on the southeast corner of the square in downtown Shelbyville. He had purchased the building and filled it with pinball games, air hockey tables and video games and plans to use it to bring in additional revenue for his foundation, and use the new business as part of his mentoring program to help teach and train those who are looking to turn their lives around.
Boneham also says the proceeds from Rupert’s Kid's Arcade and Party Room will also help open a 12-bed facility as a “re-entry program” which will provide food, clothing and shelter to young people who have been released from the Shelby County Jail or Detention Center.
Once Rupert’s Kids Arcade and Party Room opens on Saturday, Feb. 4 at 1 p.m., the winter hours will be 4 p.m. to 8 p.m on Wednesdays through Fridays, and 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. You can also book the arcade for private parties and special events.
“Everything we’re making is going back to our community teaching young men and women how to make that legal living, sense of self-worth and work ethic,” says Rupert.
CLICK BELOW TO HEAR RUPERT TALK WITH 93 WIBC’S C.J. MILLER ABOUT THE NEW 'RUPERT’S KID'S ARCADE & PARTY ROOM' IN SHELBYVILLE AND THE RUPERT’S KIDS NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION.
93.1 WIBC’s C.J. MILLER REPORTING.