Parking Spots Up For Grabs

Students can win reserved campus parking spots as part of a contest benefiting the Occupational Therapy 470 class.

Students can win reserved campus parking spots as part of a contest benefiting the Occupational Therapy 470 class.

Kaitlin Hall, Reporter

   Students can win reserved campus parking spots as part of a contest benefiting the Occupational Therapy 470 class.

   Students can buy raffle tickets  until the end of the spring 2016 semester in Banks Lobby or Passan Hall.  The cost is $1 each or six tickets for $5. Each week, one student will win a week-long reserved parking space in either the upper campus or Passan Hall lots.  Winners will be selected randomly on the Thursday prior to the start of each week.

   The contest will raise funds for students to travel to the Mustard Seed Communities in Kingston, Jamaica in May. Funds will also enable students to purchase supplies.

   Senior occupational therapy major Alyssa Auer said the student volunteers need many things.

   “We are fundraising to provide supplies for our trip, anything from the materials for the sensory mats and boards, to the toys, age appropriate activities, and the assisting technology we can provide to them,” said Auer.

   Mary Boyle, a former student volunteer in the class, said the students’ service would not be possible without the proceeds of fundraising.

   “My team last year encountered many generous individuals who were interested in our mission and wanted to help. This mission is unlike any other that I have encountered because it is not only service, but service through a healthcare profession. The assistance granted to these children benefits not only their surroundings but their health and well-being as well. We have even been told the interventions we brought almost a year ago are still being used, and are benefiting the children today,” Boyle said.

   The Mustard Seed Communities consist of seven houses, which serve children and adults who have physical or cognitive disabilities.

   Student volunteers have a unique opportunity to enrich their lives, while practicing in their future professions, Boyle said.

   “From my time working at the Mustard Seed Communities I took away how selfless and devoted the staff are for their children. They love the kids as their own, and they work an unbelievable amount in order for the children to be able to smile another day. Some of the aides work the whole day through without a break, and then often drive many hours to and from their home each day. They certainly aren’t doing it for any worthwhile paycheck; they do it out of the kindness of their hearts and because, as one aide said, ‘God asked me to.’”

   She said her drive to serve was reinforced by this service.

   “This has remained with me because I hope to bring that joy and that devotion to my future profession as an OT. I hope that the joy and the well-being of my clients will be what drives my efforts, no matter to what length I’m called to go,” she said.

   The Mustard Seed Communities have a specific mission: to create a loving and caring environment to aid in the physical, mental and spiritual development of  residents.

   Following the university’s own charisms of mercy, service, justice and hospitality, students have worked hard and benefited from past trips.

   “The experience that had the greatest impact on me while at the Mustard Seed Communities was working with the older boys at My Father’s House. I brought a set of toy pipes with me to Jamaica, which can be assembled into various functional items such as a table and chair, a bookcase, a go-kart, etc. I showed the manual, with pictures of finished products, to one of the boys approximately age 20, and asked him if he’d like to build something. He had an immediate smile on his face as he pointed to the object he’d like to build, a table and chair. We began to build it together, and before we knew it, two other older boys had asked to join us because it looked so fun,” she said.

   She said the boys took turns connecting the pipes and building their masterpiece as students encouraged them to grasp the pipes, use their strength to connect them, and use their reach to obtain them.

   “They loved it. To see the smiles on their faces and the constant laughs and joy they shared, was my greatest moment. I was honored and humbled to be part of such a profound experience for them. It was truly amazing,” Boyle said.

   Current students are looking forward to new opportunities to serve the communities.

   “Our team will be focusing on feeding, positioning, adjusting wheelchairs to be more therapeutic for the children, assisting technology, age appropriate activities for all of the residents, and helping to create an environment that will stimulate the children and adult’s senses,” Auer said.

   Auer said students want to create a positive environment that offers residents achievable outcomes.

   “In order to create this environment, we will be working on bringing a sensory mat and possibly two sensory boards down. These objects will help the children to interact with their environment in their down time in the late afternoon,” Auer said. “We are also looking into how we can improve the sleeping environment. We want to be able to work alongside the staff to problem solve anything that they might run into during their day to day lives to help them improve their services to the children.”

   Students may purchase parking raffle tickets March 21 to April 1, April 3 to 9, April 10 to 16, April 17 to 23, April 24 to 30, and May 1 to 7. The final drawing is set for May 8 to 14.

   For further information contact Brittany Morgan at [email protected] or Alyssa Auer at [email protected]