Students in Lenoir-Rhyne's Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program are working to benefit the local community through their work at Adult Life Programs (ALP).
Upgrades to Hickory's ALP facility will begin this fall after groups of OT students created and presented proposals to the ALP board of directors and ALP management staff which led to grant funding for two renovation projects. According to Sue Friguglietti, DHA, MA, OTR/L, associate professor of occupational therapy and academic fieldwork coordinator, the proposals are part of assignments OT students complete during an Administration and Program Development course.
"The OT program has been offering these types of community-based learning experiences for the past several years," Friguglietti said. "Our curriculum focuses strongly on inquiry guided learning, and our faculty strive to give students real world opportunities for learning."
Renovations include a project titled, The Park, which will provide a $7,000 physical modification to an underutilized outdoor space designed to increase the overall physical and emotional well-being of ALP participants. Improvements will include new outdoor seating, additional storage space, visually stimulating objects such as pinwheels and wind chimes, outdoor games, and a garden.
"It is very exciting that our proposal for The Park was chosen to be implemented," said Meghan Miller '18, who worked on the project as a student in the OT program. "The time spent at ALP opened my eyes and my heart to a different population of individuals that occupational therapists work with. I gained priceless knowledge and hands-on experience."
An additional renovation project titled, The Oasis, will add a multisensory environment designed as a space for participants to experience and explore various sensations. According to Mark Bumgarner, ALP executive director, both projects are scheduled for completion prior to ALP's 35th anniversary this fall. ALP is also expected to seek funding for other LR student proposals which include projects at ALP's Conover location.
"The fact that these proposals are generating actual grants speaks volumes about the quality of Lenoir-Rhyne's OT program and its students," Bumgarner said. "These proposals add value to our programming and enhance the experience of our participants. Our partnership with Lenoir-Rhyne has created a win-win proposition."
LR's OT program is offered on both the Hickory and Columbia, South Carolina, campuses. The OT program in Columbia began in 2016 and will graduate its inaugural cohort of students next May. Students in LR's OT program have a 100 percent pass rate on the National Board for Certification in OT exam over the past three years.
Adult Life Programs is a member of the Catawba County United Way. The nonprofit organization operates day centers for individuals 18 years and older who desire or need adult day services. The three centers are located in Catawba County, and serve residents of Catawba, Caldwell, Alexander, and Burke counties. ALP aims to increase the vitality of its participant's lives and increase their connection to and involvement in the community.