Events organized for Occupational Therapy Month


By: Katherine Gentry
Creative Services Student Writer

Kevin Pierce OT Group

To celebrate Occupational Therapy Month, the JMU Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) has planned three activities throughout April focusing on restorative practices and meaningful occupations. According to Bailee Hubert, community service co-chair of SOTA, “Occupational Therapy Month is all about spreading awareness of what occupational therapy is and what it can do.” 

These events are intended for the whole community, not just occupational therapy students. Laura Vizy, president of SOTA explained, “I believe that our events can help everyone, whether they are a student or not. Everyone should learn effective coping strategies because it gets you through stressful times. It’s important for everybody.” 

On April 4, former professional snowboarder and Olympic hopeful, snowboarder Kevin Pearce will be speaking about his journey after suffering a traumatic brain injury during training. The occupational therapy students learned about Pearce’s foundation LoveYourBrain through working with clients at the Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center. According to Laura Wood, a second year graduate student and the other community service co-chair of SOTA, “It’s all about being mindful and having a healthy life. We thought it would be really great for Kevin Pearce to be on campus so we could bring awareness of traumatic brain injuries to students and the community.” Hubert added, “It’s not just pitching occupational therapy, it’s going to be about how occupational therapy helped this former professional snowboarder come back. It’s about resiliency and how occupational therapy played a role in that. Each event has a little bit of a different message, but each one comes back to the theme of coping strategies and resiliency.”

The occupational therapy students have also organized a meaningful occupation day on April 13 which will include a yoga and mindfulness class. Meaningful occupations are everyday activities that people do to occupy time and bring meaning and purpose to life. This day isdedicated to raising awareness about occupational therapy and the importance of engaging in meaningful occupations. Students will be able to participate in different activities such as sports, art projects, games, and music. Hubert explained, “We’re focusing mostly on restorative occupations and what restorative occupations are, and the purpose is to reenergize you in a healthy way. The whole point of this month is that whenever people think of occupation, they think of meaningful activities that you do on a daily basis.”

The final event is a Mental Health Promotion Day on April 24 in Rose Library. The purpose of this event is to promote the importance of self-care and mental health before final exam week. JMU OT students will set up a booth at Rose Library and share information about the benefits of using healthy coping strategies and restorative occupations as stress reduction tools. The booth will provide various stress reduction tools and JMU students will be encouraged to create their own personalized “mental health toolkits”. Tools will include information about desk chair yoga, breathing techniques, gum/mints, lotion, mindfulness coloring book, stress balls, fidgets, as well as a healthy trail mix bar. In addition, JMU students will have the opportunity to share their own unique coping strategies with the community by participating in a Polaroid project.

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Published: Friday, April 6, 2018

Last Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2023

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