Written by: Hillary Scruggs, OTA Student, KU Fort Myers
My name is Hillary Scruggs. I am currently enrolled in my second year of the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program at the Keiser University Fort Myers campus. I am also the former secretary, and now the acting president of the Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA). A little over a month ago I received an email from my program director, Lea Clem, about an opportunity to work at the Quality of Life Center through the America Reads/Federal Work study program at Keiser. I was very eager to get involved, but was not aware of the positive impact it would have on me.
The Quality of Life Center (QLC) is a nonprofit organization founded by Abdul’Haq Muhammed in 1990. This organization provides structured youth programs that focus on the arts, character building, and education to create and promote confidence, discipline, and engage students in meaningful activities to further their education. When I set foot in the building on my first day for a tour I knew this place was special, and something I wanted to be a part of. Upon my arrival I immediately felt very welcomed by both the staff and children at the center, and I was amazed at the array of classes and activities they offered for the children to participate in. As I was leaving the first day, I was already looking forward to going back. The staff is engaging and professional, and they truly care about the well-being and future of the children in the center.
I spend my afternoons tutoring students who are struggling in math and English. This has really put the skills I have learned so far as an OTA student at Keiser to the test. Every child struggles in different areas for different reasons. It is up to me to work with them one-on-one to see where and why they are struggling and to come up with learning strategies to facilitate the students’ abilities to problem solve and become successful in their studies. Nothing makes me happier than when I am helping a student who is struggling with a problem and I see that light bulb over their head go off and they truly get it. A student who was once upset and throwing a fit about doing the work, now becomes the student who is proud, and grinning from ear to ear because they finally understood it. That moment makes my world stop, and I am so grateful to be a part of that student’s success.
Tutoring at the Quality of Life Center also gives me a chance to be creative and inventive. The students do not want to just sit down and do worksheets, so I come up with games that are fun and engaging for them while getting them to do their schoolwork. This program also focuses on the well-rounded student. The students participate in meditation and arts every day. The staff also acknowledges and awards professional behaviors to demonstrate to the students the importance of appropriate social behaviors in professional and public settings. Overall, in the short amount of time spent thus far at the QLC I have been inspired by the children, impressed by the care of the staff, and motivated to become more involved. I feel honored to have an opportunity to be a part of this program, and enjoy it very much.
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