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Westchester inmates making a difference

Occupational Therapy Interns work with inmates at the Westchester County Department of Corrections

At Afya, we always believe that people have the capacity to make a difference and live with purpose, no matter which circumstance they find themselves in. Afya’s Occupational Therapy internship program breathes life into this belief. The program brings together master’s level occupational therapy (OT) students and volunteers from at-risk populations. OT students provide occupational therapy and job readiness skills to volunteers while together they sort critical medical supplies for Afya’s recipient health care providers around the world.

This summer, two of our master’s level occupational therapy students, Emma Meaney and Grace Englund from the University of Scranton, have been working with the inmates at the Westchester County Department of Corrections (WCDOC) during weekly sorting sessions.

Emma has been working in the “Women with Substance Abuse Unit” on skills that will help the women gain employment after being discharged from jail. She has also been working on social interaction skills and functional life skills. Emma feels as though it has been an extremely positive experience for all the women and that she has made meaningful connections with the participants. She specifically was inspired by one of the inmates explaining that the work she is completing with Afya is “extremely rewarding and therapeutic for her and the people she is helping.”

Grace has spent her time working with the young male offenders unit at the jail to promote functional life skills and provide meaningful activities. The experience has been beneficial for both Grace and the inmates. She feels fulfilled knowing the difference that has been made in such a short amount of time. One young man discussed his desire to leave gang life upon his release and focus on finding a job and mending his relationships with his family. He credits the work he is doing with Afya and talking to the volunteers as major factors in his wanting to change.

The work that Afya is doing at WCDOC is so crucial and sheds light on how important it is to give all individuals a sense of purpose and quality of life, regardless of their past. Afya is excited to continue its work with the WCDOC!

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