Student-Led Service Learning Emphasized During Two Community Events

The Emory University Division of Physical Therapy Purposeful Learning and Activities for Youth (PLAY) Committee is a student-led organization that designs and implements purposeful activities, family-centered events, and education in the Greater Atlanta area with the purpose of promoting health and wellness for children with special needs and their families.

This fall, in partnership with Easter Seals of North Georgia and GiGi’s Playhouse, the PLAY committee executed the 2016 Trick or Treat Trot and the 4th Annual Fall Fit Fest, respectively.

In October, the PLAY committee provided its expertise in intentional play at the established Trick or Treat Trot. We were invited to participate in the 6th annual race to provide activities for children with special needs and their families. The 4th Annual Fall Fit Fest was held in November at Chastain Horse Park. During this event, children with Down Syndrome and their families enjoyed interacting with horses, climbing through an obstacle course, practicing yoga poses, and designing crafts with healthy foods.

Due to the volunteer support of 75 Emory Doctor of Physical Therapy students, the events successfully reached more than 125 children and their families. Volunteers helped emphasize parent education at each station, allowing the families to learn more about the principles of gross and fine motor skills and how to incorporate them at home and in the community. The parents and children left the event feeling inspired and prepared to integrate these events into their daily lives.

Student-led service learning provides student volunteers with the opportunity to consider their role in the community and build confidence for their future practices through development of clinical reasoning and critical thinking skills. The events planned with both community partners, GiGi’s Playhouse and Easter Seals of North Georgia, provide Emory DPT students the opportunity to gain a better understanding of pediatric communities enriching their engagement in related academic courses.

Below are a few of the photos from these events.