In the Occupational Therapy Doctorate program, we are required to complete a level I fieldwork relating to the area of occupational therapy currently being studied. We have been placed at local and national organizations, giving us unique opportunities to reach out to the community around the Ruskin campus while supporting the Gannon University mission. In some cases, the variety of settings we have experienced has opened our eyes to the use of OT outside a clinical environment. Some of the organizations include the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), Selah Freedom housing for female victims of sex trafficking, Inspired Living of Sun City Center, Stay in Step spiral cord rehabilitation center and Mary & Martha House for homeless and abused women, just to name a few.
Within the past few months, our GU Ruskin family has gone above and beyond in supporting these amazing causes. The first event was the Valentine’s Day Veteran’s Ball to benefit Stay in Step, a non-profit recovery center for both military and civilian spinal cord injury patients. It was a night of amazing speakers, a silent auction and time to honor the veterans from the Tampa Bay area. Three faculty members and eleven students, pictured below, attended to support the heroes and the vision of Stay in Step.
Mary & Martha House in Ruskin has an incredible mission of providing housing and supportive services to abused or homeless women and their children so they can gain employment and transition to permanent housing. This spring they put on their annual Hook & Sink fishing and golf tournament to raise money for their work in the community. Six students volunteered throughout the weekend and five participated in the events. Dr. Connelly, our director, represented GU well by pulling together a foursome for the golf tournament and was part of the winning fishing team along with students, Travis Darrow and Rachel Smith.
Even closer to campus, we have our neighbors at Inspired Living, which provides personalized care with assisted living services to those with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or other memory impairments. Not only are students doing fieldwork hours at this residential facility, a couple have joined the staff for part-time jobs. Last week, all GU Ruskin staff and students were invited to a BBQ potluck with the residents. It was refreshing for all of us to get out of the classroom and talk to a population that benefits from occupational therapy.
Gannon’s emphasis on serving others is one that is valued at the GU Ruskin campus. We are excited to continue building new relationships within the community and strengthen the ones we have!