Occupational Therapy Students Spend Summer in Service

Group of OTA students with banner
October 3, 2019
Tech Talk

Occupational Therapy Assistant Students completed three community service projects over the summer as part of their course. The groups worked with veterans and children and young adults with developmental disabilities to provide care packages and blankets for those in need.

The Building Bridges: It’s in the Bag project turned into two projects for one of the groups. First, the students solicited donations for clothing items, such as socks and rain ponchos, personal care items, portable food and drinks, and miscellaneous items, including food gift cards, duct tape, and First Aid kits. A-B Tech’s Dental department oral hygiene products, such as toothbrushes and toothpaste.

The students then took the supplies to a camp in West Asheville for children of all ages and developmental disabilities. About 30 campers filled nearly 80 A-B Tech backpacks with the items and had a great time doing so. Once the bags were filled at the community center, the OTA students took the bags to distribute at AHOPE.

AHOPE Day Center is Western North Carolina’s only day center for people experiencing homelessness and is often the only place that people who live outside can go for services. Almost everyone experiencing homeless in the area goes through AHOPE and it serves as a hub of information and connection to other community resources. The bags were gone within 20 minutes.

Another group worked with veterans at VA Quarters to make blankets with weight from fleece donated by Foam and Fabric. Twenty veterans stuffed the blankets with pillows and had the option of keeping the blankets for themselves or donating it.

“Our students are so amazing,” said OTA Chair, Jane Blount. “We even had one veteran come in with the backpack he had received at AHOPE earlier.” A third group of students worked on getting snacks for the veterans so they could have something to eat during the day.

“It was an honor to work with all of you guys and to see so many smiles on the vet’s faces! It’s also a reminder of just how lucky we all our to have our health, have a path that we are working towards in school, and to have a safe home to go to,” said student Alisha Elizabeth Osborne.

According to Instructor Christine Lomax each group had four steps for their community service projects. Students had to do a needs assessment, design materials and determine cost and time needed, implementation and an assessment.

“You all made Asheville a better place today,” Lomax said.

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