SoCal Trykers is an organization dedicated to building and providing children and adults with disabilities adaptive tricycles to improve their quality of life. This organization first evaluates each client to measure the best fit tricycle. Following this evaluation, volunteers work together to build the tricycles from scratch, and then ultimately, participate in the big day, the "giveaway!" On Saturday, April 6, 2019, two DPT students Katrina Wong (Class of 2020) and Geneva Perez (Class of 2021) participated in building tricycles alongside many volunteers and pediatric physical therapists from California Children Services (CCS) Long Beach. Katrina explains, "I previously participated in a tryke giveaway last year. When building the tricycles, I did not realize how specific each tricycle had to be built. Each tricycle looked different. For example, some tricycles had extra trunk support "handles" attached to the seat. It was amazing to be a part of this build! I even saw some of the same volunteers as last year; I love the dedication and commitment the volunteers and physical therapists put into this organization."
Spinal Cord Injury Games
The Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center Spinal Injury Games took place on Saturday, September 28. The Spinal Injury Games are designed for beginner or wheelchair sports enthusiasts and their families. The games provide an opportunity for participants to experience a wide variety of wheelchair sports. 10 DPT students from MSMU volunteered and participated in the event.
"Spinal Cord Injury Games was such a great experience! It was amazing watching the participants showcasing their athleticism on the rock climbing wall, basketball court, obstacle course, and all the other events."
- Veronica, MSMU 2021
"My afternoon at the SCI games was exceptional to say the least. The event was much larger than I had expected and with a diversity of people. Everyone was happy to be there as can be witnessed by the smiles on the people you walked past, or the vendors faces as you came up to their booths. I was taken back by the comradery present at Rancho as people called each other out to participate in the different events like the obstacle course or basketball. And let us not forget the people dedicated to the cause, as hordes of volunteers rushed whenever one was called. It was an overall amazing day, and I learned a lot."
- Yvette, MSMU 2021
Life Rolls On
Founded by world champion quadriplegic surfer Jesse Billauer, Life Rolls On is dedicated to improving the quality of life for young people affected by spinal cord injury. Believing that adaptive surfing and skating could inspire infinite possibilities beyond paralysis, Life Rolls On began as a splash into the unknown on September 11, 2001; achieving 501c3 nonprofit status in 2002; and now touches the lives of hundreds of thousands. This year, 13 MSMU students volunteered their time for a full 8-hour day of water transfers, providing a means to surf for those that may not otherwise do so.
“This was my 6th time participating at Life Rolls On and I will have to say that I will always have the same passion for this service every time I participate. There are several roles for volunteers, but I will have to say being a swimmer in the water is best volunteer role in order to get the whole experience. Life Rolls On is an adaptive sports surfing program for people with various disabilities. It is a day where participants can experience a thrilling feeling that they may have been missing due to their restrictions.
All the participants I encountered were so enthusiastic and excited to surf, but the participant that stood out to me the most was this little boy. He was afraid of being out in the ocean and he wore a life vest that covered almost his entire neck. He increasingly began to trust the volunteers out in the water after each successive wave and he was having a blast. At the end of the service, he noticed me and he thanked me for helping him and said good-bye. This service is the reason why I chose to pursue physical therapy and it replenishes my passion for it every time I participate.”
- Alan Vu, MSMU 2020
Summer Special Olympics
The Special Olympics transforms lives through the joy of sport, every day, everywhere. They are the world’s largest sports organization with intellectual disabilities: with 4.4 million athletes in 170 countries. In 2018, more than 1,100 athletes from across the Southern California area came to compete, making it the largest competition of the year. 28 MSMU students were in attendance offering physical therapy screening support for those competing through the healthy athletes booth.
“Volunteering for the Special Olympics was a great reminder as to why I wanted to be a physical therapist. Meeting the athletes, hearing their stories and motivating them to do their best during each test are only a snapshot of what happened at the Fun Fitness booth. I highly recommend every PT student to volunteer for this event at least once while in school.”
- Jackie Cabuhat, MSMU 2020