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COVID-19 Pandemic Inspires Alabama State University's Occupational Therapy Students to Help Others!
Posted By: Reggie Culpepper on June 12, 2020

Monies raised for travel by students now going to help local charities and orphans in Africa.

By Kenneth Mullinax/ASU.
Student’s enrolled in ASU’s master’s degree program in Occupational Therapy (OT) had worked long and hard to raise money to help pay for travel to their state conference and for a working trip to help orphans in Uganda; however, the coronavirus pandemic put an end to their plans for this year. The students decided to turn their disappointment into an opportunity to help others, specifically three local charities.

"Our disappointment in not being able to travel has translated into ASU's OT students bringing joy to Montgomery-area residents, as well as to the very people we were going to travel to Uganda to help,” said Matthew Stewart, president of ASU's Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA). "The money we raised for both our state conference and our Ugandan trip couldn't be used to travel so we decided to give the money back to our community to help with various needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to the Ugandan community we were scheduled to visit."

Students voted to give the money to three charities—two local and one international:

Adullam Ministries, which supports children of incarcerated mothers in Alabama; Dream Court-Adaptive Tennis, which provides adaptive tennis for persons with disabilities in Montgomery; and Our Hope International, an organization that supports Home of Hope orphanage in Uganda.

"I'm so proud of the occupational therapy students at Alabama State University who have shown they are committed to impacting the community. Even with the limitations imposed on them by COVID-19, they still wanted to support the community agencies that provide services to the very people that OT professionals work with to assist," said Dr. Jewell J. ****son, an ASU associate professor of OT and SOTA advisor. "I could not be more proud of how our students have risen to the occasion during such difficult and uncertain times."

The class representative of ASU’s OT Cohort-14 students is Raegan Shackelford, an Autaugaville, Ala. native who just completed her first year in the two and a half-year master's program. She said her classmates worked long and hard to acquire money to help pay for travel.

"We did all kinds of fundraisers to get the money for our trips that included a fundraiser at Mama Goldberg's Deli, a basket raffle and even a Krispy Kreme Doughnut sale," Shackelford commented.

She said that helping the community is what has motivated the ASU students to reach out.

"Occupational Therapy is all about helping people become healthy, to be the very best that they can be, as well as to be independent. So giving our hard-earned money to charities that have those same principles in mind, both locally and in Africa, help us achieve our professional goals and allow us to help others," Shackelford added.
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