Doctor of physical therapy (DPT) students volunteer in a local non-profit organization dedicated to assisting children with disabilities to participate in recreational gymnastics.
Saturdays: 12:30-1:30pm (children 2 – 16 yrs. old)
“To the world I am one person, but to one person I am the world”
Our vision is to incorporate functional and interactive stretches and exercises to the gymnastics activities in order to improve the flexibility, range of motion, and strength of the children that participate in the Balance 180 Adaptive Gymnastics program.
“Working with Balance 180 through children on the go has been a truly incredible experience. Not only do you get to practice hands-on skills that you learned in the classroom, but you also get to give back to the community in a meaningful way. Over time you develop relationships with these athletes that attend Balance 180. Watching them grow and develop functionally and knowing that you played a part in that transformation is incredibly rewarding.”
– Alex Colon, UF DPT student c/o 2019
What do we do?
UF DPT students have an invaluable opportunity to work one-on-one with gymnasts with physical or intellectual disabilities, helping them learn foundational skills on the vault, bars, beam and floor in a sequential, individualized process. Students help each athlete work at his or her own pace, help improve motor skills and encourage them to follow instructions and make new friends. No prior experience is required but each student completes a volunteer training session prior to volunteering.
In conjunction to participating in the Saturday class, UF DPT students have a unique opportunity to design and implement an educational project as part of the DPT curriculum. The project is intended to identify and implement a solution to the identified problems. During the first year of the curriculum, students identify and address health needs and barriers related to service learning projects and develop the project design, implement the intervention throughout the second year and analyze and compile the results in the third year.
“Volunteering with Balance 180 through Children on the Go has been the highlight of my UF DPT career. Working with these athletes has been an invaluable learning experience and I’m truly grateful the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at UF has provided this opportunity. Every Saturday spent with these athletes leaves me with a positive attitude and the happiest heart!”
– Savanna McDowell, UF DPT student c/o 2019
If you are interested in finding out more about Balance 180, please visit www.balance180.org. If you are interested in learning more about volunteering with Balance 180, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.