Students enrolled in the Master of Occupational Therapy (OT) graduate program at Bay Path University have been participating in a variety of community-based service projects this winter. These projects were required assignments for their Development Components of Living I & II
"Service projects have been an assignment for this class for many years," Assistant Professor in the Master of Occupational Therapy graduate program, Jeanne Zobel-Lachiusa said. "However, given the series of tragic events in the past year, the students have been particularly moved to give back to the community."
Students are asked to work in groups over two semesters, research a need in the community, and provide their time to pediatric-related agencies or organizations. A few of the organizations students supported this year included Cutchins School (Northampton, MA), Jericho Therapeutic Equestrian Center (Holyoke, MA), Richard Salter Storrs Library (Longmeadow, MA), East Longmeadow Public Library, Treehouse Foundation (Easthampton, MA), and Growing Tree Learning Center (Westfield, MA).
Occupational Therapy student Lauren Rosenberg G'18 spoke about her experience raising money for the Ralphola Taylor Community Center (RTCC) YMCA in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Rosenberg shared how this project experience shaped her and the community:
"We chose the RTCC YMCA because we felt
Rosenberg and her group raised $525.00 to donate, which provided enough funds for an educational-based field trip for a classroom of 30 students.
"It provided enough for not only an educational-based field
Groups of students enrolled in other pediatric courses also took the time to contribute their services to other local organizations in need by providing elementary schools, public libraries,
"The programs, activities, and materials were appreciated and the OT students learned first hand the meaning of community," Zobel-Lachiusa said. "This assignment gave students the opportunity to learn about various local pediatric-related resources, like relief organizations, outside of the typical OT settings. They learned how to provide materials, financial support, and information that will benefit people with challenges. The students were educating themselves about the community while teaching the community what OT can do for them. It is an invaluable experience and opportunity."
The classes raised over $2,100 through organized raffles and gathered needed items to send to the Texas Diaper Bank, Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund and St. Jude Children’s Hospital therapy department. Students also asked local businesses to donate items and gift cards to help raise money.
"These students are well on their way towards graduation and will then join a larger community beyond Bay Path, entering the real world," Zobel-Lachiusa said. "This assignment proves that they are ready for the next step in their careers and that kindness, compassion, and caring always go beyond the classroom requirement."