Students Lend Hands to Habitat for Humanity Project

Published 11.04.2005

Student News

From left%3A Larry Keisner, construction manager for Williamsport%2FLycoming Habitat for Humanity%3B Barbara J. Natell, director of Occupational Therapy Assistant%3B Patricia J. Martin, clinical director of Occupational Therapy Assistant%3B Sherrie A. Pick%3B Kelly L. Campbell%3B Wendy S. Lyons and Leigh Ann Aiken. (The Central Mountain High School student behind Campbell was not identified.)Students in Pennsylvania College of Technology's Occupational Therapy Assistant Club, along with faculty in the college's occupational therapy assistant major, gave of their time recently to help build a home in Avis.

The group volunteered their efforts for a Habitat for Humanity project that will benefit an alumna of the occupational therapy assistant program. At the end of the building project, Susan Getgen, a 1998 graduate and now a certified occupational therapy assistant for Children's Development Center in Williamsport, will receive a fully handicapped-accessible home.

Her teenage son Daniel, who has respiratory problems and is paralyzed on one side of his body, uses a wheelchair. Habitat for Humanity is cooperating with STEP Inc. to provide special pieces of equipment that would be helpful for Daniel, including a special bathroom that allows him to take a bath or shower and enter the shower in his wheelchair, as well as a ramp enabling him to get in and out of the house more easily. The home also includes a ventilation and climate-control system to ease his respiratory needs.

"Habitat's philosophy is simple, decent, affordable housing," said Dolores Rider, director of volunteer services for Williamsport/Lycoming Habitat for Humanity. "Usually, we don't have these extras, but because of Daniel's situation, special considerations have been made. Due to our partnership with STEP on this project, we were able to make this happen."

"It's going to be really great for them to have this house that's going to make life so much easier for them," said Barbara J. Natell, associate professor and director of the occupational therapy program.

The occupational therapy assistant students and faculty helped to install siding and electrical wiring at the home.

Students who volunteered are Leigh Ann Aiken, Muncy; Kristy L. Barlet, Millville; Jennifer N. Breon, Jersey Shore; Kelly L. Campbell, Montoursville; Tiffany B. Dawson, Williamsport; Wendy S. Lyons, Hughesville; Sherrie A. Pick, Lock Haven; and Heather M. Waldron, Pennsdale.

Natell and Patricia J. Martin, assistant professor and clinical director of the occupational therapy assistant program, also volunteered at the work site.

Students in the Occupational Therapy Assistant Club also held a fund-raiser in the spring that raised $250 for the Getgen house.