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How We Raised Thousands for Our Trip to Guatemala

September 12, 2013


Hearts in MotionAs Drexel Physical Therapy students, we all are assigned to committees in our second year of graduate school. I chose to serve on the International Committee,  which runs any and all international affairs, though its main focus for the most part has been organizing the annual Hearts In Motion (HIM) trip to Guatemala that second year Physical Therapy students take at the end of the year. Only a select group of students can go (we currently have 14) plus a handful of current professors and some alumni (about 5-6 this year). We left for our trip on Sept 7, just one day after finals ended. We were so excited!

Though we are students and not yet certified physical therapists, we treat as such during our trips to Guatemala. One huge advantage is that there is no stress and annoyance of collecting documentation because our work there is completely pro-bono.

In the summer of 2012 when I first joined the committee, I really wanted us to do something great in our efforts to raise awareness and funds for the Guatemala trip. Of course we had some bake sales, happy hours, and the like, but these had limited fundraising power. When a professor made some suggestions for events, together our committee made the decision to put together a Continuing Education course to raise money for the trip, even though we knew it would mean heavy work.

The Continuing Education course, “Lower Extremity Running Injuries: Cadaveric Prossections, Examination, and Therapeutic Management,” was a huge success, and we raised almost $7,000 total (and that’s after the expenses!) It was taught by Robert Maschi, DPT,  and David Ebaugh, PT. The most important part of the process was early planning; the most challenging part was obtaining state certification. We were so lucky to have had Sarah Wenger, DPT, an assistant clinical professor in the Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences Department, the whole way through. She always made herself available to answer the committee’s questions, give advice and make connections. I know I constantly bugged her and would have crashed and burned without her insights. 

We were further blessed to have two great faculty teach the course: Rob Maschi and Dave Ebaugh. Both were more than willing to volunteer their time and resources, as long as we kept organized and told them what was needed and when. The actual course included breakfast and was a full day event. I think the two greatest aspects of the course were the implementation of a cadaver lab and the discount that was offered to Drexel alumni who enrolled in the course.

In the end, we split the pot: half of what we earned went to Hearts in Motion and half went toward our Class of 2014 Scholarship Day. I’m happy to share a photo of our group, which includes faculty members Robert Maschi, David Ebaugh, Sarah Wenger, and Jan Meiers, DPT and fellow students Amanda Malamud and Amy Strupczewski, posed with our oversized check for Hearts in Motion.

by Angela Link, Rehabilitation Sciences PhD Program ‘14