More than 60 West Coast University students from a variety of programs recently volunteered at the Special Olympics Southern California Fall Games 2016.
WCU students from the nursing, dental hygiene and doctor of physical therapy programs helped make a difference in the lives of Special Olympics athletes and their families by volunteering their services in the Healthy Athletes tent.
"It was an amazing learning experience, I really enjoyed interacting with all the athletes. I will definitely do it again next year,” first-year DPT student Stephanie Youldassis said.
"Special Olympics was by far the best event I've volunteered at,” second-year DPT student Travis Prange said. “It's really nice to go through those functional screens, and we got to collaborate with USC, Chapman and some really cool PTs."
West Coast DPT students performed fitness screenings to assesses needs in flexibility, strength, balance, and aerobic fitness. Nursing students advised athletes on the risks of smoking, talked about healthy food choices and took blood pressure readings. Dental hygiene students assisted dentists doing oral exams and helped instruct athletes on proper brushing and flossing techniques.
"Their assessments and teaching will lead to better health outcomes for the athletes now and in their future. They truly made me proud and I was so happy to meet them," WCU clinical development director Julie France said. "I received awesome feedback for their professionalism and positive attitudes."
WCU also received an award from Southern California Special Olympics for its support of the two-day Fall Games, which drew more than 1,100 athletes from across Southern California.
"I am so proud to be at a university that supports events like this and produces this caliber of students," France said. "They are the future of healthcare."