ALUMKNIGHTS: GIVE day continues after University life

Aside from the place I was born and raised (Brookfield, Ohio), only two places on this Earth have ever felt like “home” to me­ — Gannon University and Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital for Rehabilitation (CCCHR).

It is hard to believe that I left Gannon and landed my dream job more than eight years ago. Ironically, my journey is shared.

CCCHR employs three additional Gannon occupational therapy graduates: Emily Orlando ‘09, Jessica Lovick ‘09 and Becky (Iscrupe) Butler ‘13.

Both Gannon and CCCHR have shown us the value of philanthropic opportunities. Gannon’s Invitation to Volunteer Everywhere (GIVE) Day literally happens everywhere.

While current students give back to the Erie community, there will be seven cities throughout the country offering alumni events, including Cleveland. This year’s Cleveland event will be held at CCCHR. As Gannon OT grads, we are beyond excited to unite our college experience with current colleagues and patients. In the process, we are also supporting Replay for Kids, a nonprofit organization that repairs and adapts toys for children with disabilities.

In preparation for GIVE Day, Butler and I hosted a small toy drive. We received new battery-operated toys from friends and others therapists. During the GIVE Day event, a representative from Replay for Kids will instruct volunteers to adapt these mainstream toys for use by children with disabilities.

Using small tools, volunteers will install alternative switch access to each toy. Essentially this eliminates the need to activate toys using the small buttons or switches on the toy itself, and enables access from large buttons which may be activated by a child’s open hand, closed fist or even head turn.

We expect patients to join us at the end of our GIVE Day event to play and take home toys.

GIVE Day is only one opportunity to remain engaged in the Gannon community long after graduation, but certainly it may be the most rewarding.

DANIELLE PETROZELLE

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