Building Bridges for the Future
By: Danielle Jabcyznski (SLU MAT Class of 2019)
The Saint Louis University Athletic Training Society (SLATS) and SLU Physical Therapy Student Association (PTSA) teamed up to receive a SLU 1818 service grant to be able to pair with a community partner. We paired up with Unleashing Potential (UP), an early childhood and after school program, just down the street from SLU’s campus. The goal of this project was to increase awareness and spark interests for what classes need to be taken before college to set students up for success.
The day was split into two sessions depending on the ages of the children. In the morning group, 3-to-5-year old’s from UP joined us on the medical campus of Saint Louis University. We included stretching, exercise, wellness, and educational activities that incorporate what athletic trainers and physical therapist’s do. Some examples were setting up an obstacle course that contained ladder runs, mini hurdles, and cones for the exercise portion of the day.
We played “pin the Band-Aid on the person” to show that wound care is part of the AT profession. We made coloring books of basic anatomy worksheets, so the children understood that anatomy is a major class that is needed when studying athletic training and physical therapy. We also talked about nutrition and ended the day with a healthy snack, prepared by SLU’s own nutrition and dietetics students at the café in the building.
The afternoon session consisted of 5-to-12-year old’s from UP. They joined us at Chaifetz arena on SLU’s north campus for a day packed with activities similar to the morning session. The 4 activities still included stretching, exercise, wellness, and educational aspects. They were able to trace themselves on large pieces of paper and label specific anatomical characteristics on their own traced out body. The children learned how to tape wrists with some of the athletic training students. They worked on balance on Airex pads and ran through obstacle courses.
This project was a major success that was made possible by the 1818 grant provided by SLU. The Department of Athletic Training and Physical Therapy worked together cohesively for weeks to put on such an exciting day for the children of Unleashing Potential. The hope is to be able to do this project again and spark interest in the fields of athletic training and physical therapy.
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