CA Outreach Challenge

Physical Therapy Students Impacting their Community!

September 2016 Student Spotlight

Name: Timothy Forman

Program: CSU Long Beach

Graduation Date: May 2017

What is/are your favorite service events and why?

I recently volunteered for two events that had a lasting impression. The first would be Life Rolls On – They Will Surf Again. You go out in the ocean with classmates and individuals of other health care backgrounds, along with habitual surfers, to help individuals with various disabilities surf again. Not only is it great exercise, but you quickly learn comradery with basically strangers to help a stranger, and it’s an uplifting feeling to watch the surfers make it all the way to shore. My most recent event was to ice-wrap runners after they’ve finished the Disney half marathon. It’s a simple job: walk around and ask if anyone wants their knees, calves, ankles, hips, or back ice-wrapped. This task was strenuous, as you must squat to ice-wrap for about 4 hours total. It’s worth it, though, because the runners are so exhausted but also very simultaneously grateful. They call you angels and unsung heroes. Next year, I hope to volunteer as a practicing PT.

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Has service helped you grow as a person or clinician? If so, how?

Definitely. As selfless as volunteering is, I must say it’s also a little selfish. You choose to put in your time and effort for something that has no tactical reward. But there is a reward–fulfillment, self-respect, and plain old happiness. By volunteering I’ve also exposed myself to various populations, such as wheelchair-using athletes at Rancho Los Amigo’s SCI games and pediatric bicyclists with SoCal Trykers. Volunteering has made me more comfortable as a clinician, but also with just being in my own shoes and conversing with individuals of all backgrounds.

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Why is service important to you?

Many events could not be run without the help of volunteers. Most of the time, your help is not something you learned in school. You learn skills on the spot, along with communication skills. The most important part is just being present. That’s the first step to being a great volunteer.  

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Anything else you want to add?

Try as many events as you can at least once. Especially those you are not comfortable with; those are the ones you probably need to be exposed to the most. Also, remember that volunteering is all around you. To helping your friend or family member move or fix a flat, to helping your teacher with research by being a subject, or helping to test subjects.

 

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