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Houston students learn through volunteering

Sierra Taylor, Managing Editor

SOTA members and RSVP volunteers take a brief break while repairing equipment.
SOTA members and RSVP volunteers take a brief break while repairing equipment.

Many members of TWU’s community spend time volunteering to help others and better the world around them.  The TWU Houston Student Occupational Therapy Association with the help of their advisor Assistant Clinical Professor Alicia Lohman have made strides in helping those in their community through volunteering at Rehabilitation Services Volunteer Project.

According to RSVP’s website, the organization is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization that provides physical rehabilitation services and equipment to uninsured individuals with disabilities in the Greater Houston area. The organization is made up of two sections the clinic and the equipment divisions.

The clinic helps provide outpatient rehabilitation services to those with brain, spinal cord or amputation injuries. SOTA president Katherine Hahn explained that the organization spends their time assisting clinicians in conducting treatment for clients and their caregivers. You may see a SOTA member retrieving equipment, helping stabilize a client while they’re being fitted with kinesiology tape or playing catch with a client while working on core stability for functional mobility. They are also invited to participate in rounds following the clinic, where all disciplines come together to discuss each client’s progress.

The equipment division, or RSVP-Med, works to help provide wheelchairs, canes and walkers to anyone with a physical disability who would otherwise go without. Hahn stated that SOTA spends its time by helping clients check in, talking to them about their needs, and assisting clinicians in repairing medical equipment and distributing everything from wheelchairs to wheelchair parts to bathroom grab bars.

Hahn added: “RSVP is the most perfect environment for occupational therapy students to connect classroom material to real life clients. Coursework and exams suddenly become more meaningful and easier to grasp once you’ve seen a theory or technique performed in person. The leaders are a fantastic group of clinicians who embrace students and their questions and include students in every part of the therapy process from chart review to treatment to documentation. The experience at RSVP is especially great because you may see a different therapist and different therapist styles every week. That kind of exposure is invaluable.”

April is Occupational Therapy month and according to SOTA historian, Annalisa Pablo, in 2015 SOTA donated money they raised to RSVP’s facilities. Hahn explained further that RSVP serves many clients and each client may have multiple needs. RSVP depends on donations like SOTA’s to continue providing equipment and therapy to people in the community who may have nowhere else to go.

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