Crystal Kurien of Sunnvale, a first-year student in Alvernia's Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program, demonstrated the importance of movement and exercise to fourth-grade students at Lauer's Park Elementary School in Reading, Pennsylvania, through an interactive program called Power in Motion.
"We are always looking for ways to increase awareness of physical therapy as a profession to those who might not have been exposed to it and give back to our local community," said Alvernia Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy James O'Donohue. "This was our opportunity to do both and I think the program went very well and our students enjoyed themselves, particularly through the interaction with the students from Lauer's Park."
The Power in Motion program involves learning about planes of body motion along with various muscles throughout the body and how they interact in motion and activity. Alvernia students led the participants through several activities, including playing Simon Says and the development of a personalized three-dimensional dance.
"I wish I would have had a physical therapy program come and teach me about what they do at such a young age," said Alvernia DPT student Samantha Marino. "I had no idea that physical therapists existed until I was in high school, so I hope this will entice today's youth to pursue a career in physical therapy."
The partnership was established while Lauer's Park was exploring new ways to introduce career opportunities to their students. After two Alvernia students presented about physical therapy to Lauer's Park students in May, the plan for an activity-based educational experience for the school's fourth-grade classes was developed.
"This allowed our students to meet and interact with college students, who have goals within this field," said Lauer's Park Elementary School Principal Jasmin Sanchez-Lopez. "Most young students are interested in sports as an option for their future. This program allows them to experience this profession with a local establishment and gives our students aspirations in something that they would not have known about otherwise."