As a volunteer in our upcoming splinting clinic, Debby Schwartz is excited to finally put her knowledge and expertise to use in a very impactful way.
“I am excited because every year I have offered these splints to therapists going on trips like this, but I have never gone on one,” she said. “I am always teaching therapists how to do this. I have always wanted to offer something, I know alot about splinting and the materials, so I would like to do something that would benefit the patients in that specific space.”
This is exactly what Debby will get the chance to do when she joins Smile a While Foundation at our splinting clinic in collaboration with the Nigril Pediatric Orthotic Clinic from April 10 to 14. During the clinic, children will be fitted for custom splints to support individual needs. Custom splinting is essential in providing protection and support that meets individual needs for optimal quality of life. Custom splinting or bracing can provide additional comfort and mobility that will not exist from hand-me-down products, which is a huge reason we are excited to be able to bring this to kids in Jamaica.
Debby is a product and educational specialist for Orfit Industries America, a company that creates thermoplastic materials for medical devices such as custom splints. Part of her role includes teaching students how to make custom splints. The groups will create practice splints that are never used, so in prep for this clinic Debby’s students disassembled practice splints to send along.
Clover Hutchinson, Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy at the School of Health Sciences and Professional Programs of York College, CUNY is among the volunteers as well as Mary Devadas, Chair of the NYS Occupational Therapy Association research committee. Smile a While Founder and Executive Director Joanne Oates will also be attending.
Clover, who is also Jamaican, said she is excited about the opportunity to support the needs of youth on the island.
“I am the president of New York State Black Occupational Therapists Caucus,” she said. “One of the things (our group) wanted to do was to participate in such a program, and when Joanne joined and started telling us what she was working on – we were excited.”
We are thankful to the American Friends of Jamaica for funding to cover clinic expenses and volunteer lodging. We are still seeking additional support to fund our flights to the island – consider a donation.