Pam Perry, Sister Mary Vuong and Kim Partlow were having a chat about how to observe Occupational Therapy (OT) Month this year and the result will be new school supplies for children in Mexico.
Perry is Rehab Services program director at St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center; Sister Mary is an OT; and Partlow is an OT assistant. Rehab Services is collecting the supplies during the next few weeks for Centro Santa Catalina in Ciudad Juarez.
“At first glance, people may wonder how occupational therapy and school supplies go together,” Perry said, explaining teachers work with children who are developing fine motor skills. “Working with crayons, bottles of glue, scissors and other items can help with dexterity, coordination and strength.
“These are some of the same skills we focus on when treating our occupational therapy patients,” she added. “Motor-skill development helps people return to their daily activities after an injury or illness.”
The school supplies will be shipped to Rene Weeks, a Dominican Sister who lives in El Paso, Texas, near the mission. Sister Rene also will accept gift cards that can be used in El Paso.
“These school supplies are important because we have both a kindergarten and tutoring program for children in primary school,” Sister Rene commented. “Our center is funded by grants and donations, which means any in-kind contributions are really helpful.
“Our kindergarten students, like all children their age, are developing the motor skills they need for writing,” Sister Rene continued. “We also have several children who have developmental challenges and problems with fine motor control. Our tutors make special efforts to help them.”
Perry noted that the center also has a youth group for teenagers, sewing training center and gardening co-op.
“We believe our OT Month (April) theme of ‘Developing Skills, Building Lives’ fits in very well with the center’s efforts,” Perry commented. “This theme describes to a tee what the center is all about. We encourage the community to support this worthy cause.”
Those who donate to the supply drive will earn a chance to win hand-made items from the center’s seamstresses. These include scarves, shawls and purses.
Sister Rene said she is grateful to Perry, Sister Mary and others at St. Rose for organizing this project.
“It is a huge support to our efforts here in Mexico to know that people in Kansas are thinking of us and willing to help make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate,” Sister Rene said.
For more information or to donate, contact St. Rose Rehab Services by calling 620-786-6111; it is located on the first floor.