Marist College DPT Students Lend Their Expertise to help local Community
June 22, 2022 – Two groups of soon-to-be graduating Marist College Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students donated their expertise to benefit the local community. One group of students co-hosted a beginner golf clinic for young people with disabilities, while another modified and donated ride-on toy cars to children with functional mobility limitations. DPT students work on Doctoral projects which are worked on throughout their time in the program, to be completed in their final year.
DPT students Juliana Macrini, Alexa Gamma, and Denise Venero worked the clinic at McCann Golf Course, called PAR-TEE, in partnership with club pro, Vince Benedetti, and further volunteers with the Arlington High School golf team and additional local golf professionals. This was the first year of the golf clinic, which provided instruction to children from 7 to 16 years old with a variety of diagnoses. Each participant was matched with a volunteer to assist them moving through the 4 stations. The students stressed the positive impact these types of events can have on children with special needs.
DPT students and volunteers coaching children during the adaptive golf clinic. Photo courtesy of Dr. Yvonne Egitto
“I am truly amazed at the number of people who stepped up and helped to make our golf clinic possible,” said Denise Venero ’22. “Through the generous donations we received from friends and family as well as the expertise of golf pros, PT students, and volunteers we were able to create a memorable experience for our participants. All the planning and hard work definitely paid off just seeing how both parents and participants enjoyed themselves at the event.”
“Being able to host an adaptive golf clinic was a truly rewarding experience. We were able to give these kids an opportunity to learn a sport, have fun, and make friends,” said Juliana Macrini ’22. “We hope we sparked an interest in something these kids can continue to do throughout their life. We cannot thank McCann Golf Course or our volunteers enough for helping us to make this happen and we hope to continue it in the future.”
“Organizing an adaptive golf clinic was an amazing experience. We set out to help children with disabilities learn a life sport while enjoying a day of fun,” said Alexa Gama ’22. “The event featured professional golf instruction including stations for putting, chipping, half-swings and full-swings. The children’s smiling faces made it all worth it! The kids had a blast and their parents were already asking about next year!”
Left Photo: (L-R) DPT Students Sharon Qu, Ryan Hayes, and Felix Foo pose with a child recipient. Right photo: DPT students Sharon Qu and Ryan Hayes modify a car for donation with help from volunteer engineer John Egitto. Photos courtesy of Dr. Yvonne Egitto
The toy car project through the Go Baby Go program, modified and donated 2 ride-on toy cars to children with functional mobility limitations. DPT students Sharon Qu, Ryan Hayes, and Felix Foo built and modified the car to allow the children to utilize the toy cars and raised funds to purchase the cars and necessary equipment for the modifications. Go Baby Go is a national program that shares ideas and designs, helping students and clinicians across the country brainstorm ways to modify toy cars for children with various strengths and limitations. The program, in its second year at Marist, provided modified ride-on cars to two local children.
“This experience has been very rewarding. It has been a stressful few months leading to the actual launch,” said Sharon Qu ’22. “But seeing the smile on both child’s faces made everything worth it.”
“Meeting the kids and the families only solidifies my desire to help as many people as I can,” said Felix Foo ’22. The Go Baby Go project showed me that with determination anything can be achieved.”
These students are all set to graduate in December. Yvonne Egitto, Clinical Assistant Professor in Marist’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, is a faculty mentor, along with Dr. James Rauh. She is proud of the service commitment from these students.
“I have quoted Mahatma Ghandi many times when he said ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.’ I had the pleasure of watching these 6 exceptional DPT students research their projects and give of their time and expertise to provide a service to children in our community,” said Egitto. “The smiles of the children and the gratitude of their families made it clear to me that these projects are worthwhile and should continue.”
About Marist’s DPT Program
Marist DPT students are theoretically and practically prepared for successful careers as physical therapists. Within the School of Science, the CAPTE-accredited DPT program at Marist combines in-depth classroom and laboratory instruction with extensive clinical rotations to create the most comprehensive Doctor of Physical Therapy experience possible. The curriculum consists of 36 months of didactic and clinical work. Students can choose from more than 300 established clinical rotation sites throughout the country, with opportunities to complete international rotations in Italy and Switzerland.