The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


O.T. tournament to raise funds for service trip

Several Gannon University occupational therapy students are organizing a campus-wide dodgeball tournament to raise funds for their service trip to Central America in two years.

The club, called OTs on a Mission, is composed of several sophomore-level occupational therapy students. Leah Johnson, who is in charge of organizing the dodgeball tournament, said that at least 18 or 19 students are planning to go on the trip during the class’ senior year, and that the funds raised through the dodgeball tournament will help pay for airfare and lodging expenses.

Johnson said she and her sophomore peers decided during freshman year that they wanted to do something substantial for a class service project.

“We decided it would be really cool to be able to travel and help children who haven’t really gotten help,” Johnson said. “We want to work in an orphanage or a lower income school.”

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According to Johnson, occupational therapy professor Lynne Oberle encouraged the class to travel to another country and provide service for the community. Johnson said the specifics for the trip are finally falling into place.

“This year we got together and really started planning — what we want to do, where we want to go, when we want to do it, and what we need to do to get that done,” Johnson said.

According to Oberle, the group plans to provide range-of-motion exercises, size and fix wheelchairs and give feeding evaluations. She said she expects the experience will give its participants a chance to see how occupational therapists can affect the rest of the world.

“I hope this will impact my students as to the plight of our global neighbors,” Oberle said. “I want to provide them with an experience of how OTs can help around the world along with in our own backyards.

“It is our mission to provide our students with opportunities to give to our communities while at the same time learning how to incorporate classroom knowledge into real-life situations.”

Johnson said the club will plan the trip during a university break so that none of their classes are affected. She also said that the trip will count as one of the field work requirements for the occupational therapy major, but she said she’s more excited for the opportunity to travel out of the country and serve.

“This is a once in a lifetime experience,” Johnson said. “Traveling to Central America, helping other people and seeing how they live, we’ll try to help them as much as we can for the amount of time we’re there.”

According to Johnson, any students wishing to participate in the dodgeball tournament must form a team of 10 to 15 players and pay the $30 team entry fee. The majority of the tournament will be held from noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 14, in the Carneval Athletic Pavilion. The winning team will then play the faculty team in the championship the next day in the Hammermill Center.

Johnson said each student’s participation in the dodgeball tournament will help to pay for the service learning trip.

“It will absolutely make a difference,” Johnson said. “We have 18 or 19 students who want to go on the trip and we all have to raise a pretty substantial amount of money, so every team fee will definitely help.”

Plus the tournament provides a chance for students to do something with their Saturday.

“It’s just something fun, something to do, something to get away from work and just have fun for the day,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s sophomore class started OTs on a Mission, and though this is the first year of the dodgeball tournament, the department hopes to make it an annual fundraising event.

Oberle said she also hopes to provide seniors with a service trip opportunity every year.

“Time will tell if this is successful,” Oberle said. “I am hoping that the data will reveal that the hands-on knowledge through this experience will prove to be invaluable.”


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