Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University
Jefferson College of Health Professions
Department of Occupational Therapy

Community Service Opportunities

Bridging the Gaps

Bridging the Gaps (BTG) is an interdisciplinary service learning program for health professions students, administered in Philadelphia by the Bridging the Gaps Consortium comprised of representatives from Drexel University, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Temple University, Thomas Jefferson University and the University of Pennsylvania.

Students are paid to engage in a service opportunity, such as: camps, homeless shelters, senior programs and a variety of other populations at various locations across Philadelphia.

Client Population: Underserved groups

When: Seven weeks in the summer after the first year

Student Role: Students have the option to engage in leadership roles based on their specific placement

Outcomes: Occupational Therapy students bring a unique, creative perspective to this program and to the healthcare team. This experience helps the students build new skills interacting with community members and community agencies.

For more information, e-mail Caryn Johnson.

Jewish Community Center (JCC) Open Hearts/Open Doors Inclusionary Summer Camp

JCC Open Hearts/Open Doors Summer Camp is an eight-week inclusionary summer day-camping program. Thomas Jefferson University students make a difference at this camp by collaborating with campers, counselors and parents to create a successful camping experience.

Client Population: Children ages 3 to 14 from different backgrounds

When: Eight weeks each summer

Student Role: Students work as advocates for children with challenges to create a positive camping experience through adapting the environment. Working cooperatively with the family, students communicate through daily written documentation and a home visit. Students move with the campers throughout the day to facilitate their inclusion into the program.

Outcomes: Campers participate in community experiences in a fun environment. Students work with (paid) staff and children as they experience a typical day for a child with a disability.

Brain Awareness Week

Brain Awareness Week at the Franklin Institute began in 2005. Students and researchers in the neuroscience community organize and implement brain-related learning activities for the public. Occupational Therapists provide a unique approach to neuroscience in rehabilitation by bridging the structures and systems of the brain and nervous system with participation in life activities.

Client Population: Visitors to the Franklin Institute

When: Two days of the second week of Brain Awareness Month (March) each year

Student Role: Interact with visitors, teach reflexes, draw the lobes of the brain on swim caps, play games and view cadaver specimens in the Brain Bar. Students advocate for occupational therapy in a neuroscience background setting.

Outcomes: The public increases its awareness of occupational therapy by learning how the brain functions and ultimately impacts movement and participation in daily activities.