They say inspiration happens when you break out of your comfort zone. You’ve likely heard a variation of this adage at some point—and perhaps even found truth in it yourself. For Efosa Guobadia, DPT, the founder of PT Haven, inspiration struck as he gazed upon the winding Amazon River in a remote region of Peru. At the time, the Atlanta-based physical therapist was providing volunteer PT services to the local population when he suddenly had a light-bulb moment: “What if, on the same day, clinicians, students, and associated staff of the physical therapy profession volunteered in different communities around the world?” he thought. “What if we then shared those moments and acts in a way that was galvanizing, inspiring, and that promoted connections all over the world?” From that idea, PT Day of Service was born, uniting PTs across the globe in an effort to incite positive action in their communities and beyond. So with that in mind, I asked WebPT Members how they’re giving back for PT Day of Service 2017—and all year long.
The team at Hartz Physical Therapy takes giving back to their community pretty seriously. Owner Brian Hartz, MPT, DPT, OCS, CSCS, says, “Our practice emphasizes supporting the communities in which we practice and live. [On] October 7, we’ll be hosting the 14th Annual Fall Blast 5K Walk/Run to celebrate Physical Therapy Month.” According to Hartz, his practice has raised more than $150,000 in donations to local charities through this event. Laura Johnson, a physical therapist assistant at Hartz PT, says the “staff organizes, directs, and runs the popular event, bringing together people from [all over] the community.” In this regard, it’s more than a community give-back event—it’s also a team engagement challenge. Dr. Hartz is a big believer in team building, spending “[hundreds] of hours supporting community activities and building company culture.” In fact, it’s a topic he’ll be covering during his session at PPS 2017 in Chicago this November.
Ashley D., administrator at Washington Wellness Physical Therapy and SportsCare, says, “At WWPT, I believe we give back every day. We try to be a clinic of the people and for the people—going above and beyond the call of duty to meet our patients’ needs.” Ashley says her clinic also infuses that enthusiastic and philanthropic spirit within the community. “Last year, we started an annual Thanksgiving drive where we partnered with a local food bank to donate non-perishables [to those in need].”
For some folks, giving back means devoting personal time to volunteering in their communities. And at Pinnacle Sport and Spine, staff members show their commitment to giving back with every new patient interaction. According to Jennifer Wiese, Pinnacle’s office manager, the team donated an hour of their time to Habitat for Humanity for every new patient they had. “We did this for a month,” she says. “And because we had so much fun, we have continued to do it.”
For Alexa Stevens, physical therapist and owner of Sparrow PT, giving back means spending time every week doing pro bono care. In fact, Stevens is also the director and founder of Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts Physical Therapy Clinic, a pro bono practice in Washington, DC. “I give a portion of each week—5 to 8 hours—to pro bono care,” Stevens explains.
Of course, giving back to your community doesn’t mean you have to leave your home base. After all, it can be challenging for a busy practice to carve out time for major community projects and events. Many providers do their part by donating to local and national charities. When it comes to giving back, Samantha Van Arsdale, office and billing manager at Pacific Northwest Physical Therapy, says, “We do a lot of volunteer work, and we also do a lot of donations to our local high school for sports.” And according to Donna De Leon, the billing office manager at Endeavor Rehab Center, the practice makes a regular donation to the local children’s hospital.
You don’t have to wait for an earth-shattering idea in order to give back. In 2017, the rehab therapy community has encountered a number of opportunities to instill positive change—and that’s why WebPT asks all rehab therapy professionals to come together and lend a hand to those in need through our Rehab Therapists Give Back challenge. You can also find ways to give back by looking for events near you on the PTDOS website. And remember, when it comes to greatness, it’s not what you have—it’s what you give.