Time to Give Back

July 30, 2018

When Kat Ziemke DPT ’19 and Emily Ford OTD ’19 became class volunteer chairs at MBU’s Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences (MDCHS), they decided to inspire action.

It started with a challenge to their 2019 occupational therapy (OT) and physical therapy (PT) classmates during their first year: complete 2,019 non-mandatory hours of community service by graduation. And the 70 OT and PT students more than delivered. As of July 3, they have reached their goal, almost a year early.

“When we started school, we knew that MDCHS had strong roots in community service,” Ziemke said.

Consistent and meaningful volunteer work is a perfect fit for these future practitioners who want to help improve people’s lives. Students set up a weekly dinner at the Valley Mission, serving meals to the homeless. A partnership with Habitat for Humanity had them working in a community garden. Students’ passion for active lifestyles led to many events with Waynesboro Parks and Recreation (think kite days, races, cycling events, and mud runs).

“Volunteering is one of my biggest stress relievers. It reminds me why I chose this profession.”
Kat Ziemke '19, doctor of physical therapy program

They also helped fundraise — to support victims of Hurricane Harvey or local children in need of school supplies through United Way’s “Stuff the Bus” — and organized blood drives at the college.

“Volunteering is one of my biggest stress relievers,” Ziemke said. “It reminds me why I chose this profession.”

And it will live on. Not only does the Class of 2019 have more months to continue their work in the community before Commencement, but they have also passed the challenge on to the next class: achieve 2,020 hours by their graduation in 2020.

Just one of the Class of 2020’s many projects? Helping build a house with Habitat for Humanity.