Three Upstate Doctor of Physical Therapy students took to the national stage to talk up the after-school fitness mentoring program they developed in Syracuse schools.
Kelly Brunscheen, Cara Corasaniti and Lauren Shirley were among the presenters at the American Physical Therapy Association’s 2015 Combined Sections Meeting in Indianapolis.
The DPT students created CHAMP, a program that encourages children of varying ages and abilities to get exercise and learn healthy living habits. Kelly, Cara, Lauren and other DPT students met weekly after school with children at the Northside CYO; they also conducted the program at the Southwest Community Center.
“Creating and implementing CHAMP was a rewarding, and at times challenging, experience,” Kelly said. “Our team designed stations based on New York State standards of fitness while also encouraging a fun atmosphere. With the wide range of ages it was definitely a challenge at times to meet each activity level of the kids!”
Kelly commended Lauren for initiating CHAMP (Children’s After-School Mentoring Program) and for submitting an application to the APTA conference. Kelly said CHAMP also benefited from Cara’s insights and skills, and the guidance of their advisor, associate professor Carol Recker-Hughes, PhD.
“The program facilitated my growth not only as a future health care professional, but on a personal level,” Cara said. “It allowed for opportunities to build relationships and to share varying knowledge, culture and experience between the children and the volunteers.”
Lauren said being able to speak at the APTA gathering was an honor.
“The conference gave us the opportunity to share CHAMP with other professionals and students in hopes they too would want to start a program like CHAMP at their university or in their community,” she said. “We had a blast and got a lot of nice feedback. CHAMP is taking off, and it’s great that it’s getting such positive support.”
Lauren is about to begin her third and final year in the DPT program; Cara and Kelly graduate in May. CHAMP may resume in the fall semester.
“I felt that we were able to take areas of what we have learned in our DPT classes at Upstate to the kids at CHAMP,” Kelly said. “This experience has helped me to see that we have been given the foundation and tools to make a difference in whatever community our DPT careers take us.”