As someone who has always sought to live in harmony with others, help those who need it, and encourage a healthy and happy lifestyle, finding Recreational Therapy was ideal. I grew up with a best friend who was born with cerebral palsy so including and advocating for those with disabilities was second nature. Respectfully making sure people aren’t using offensive language and being sure of accessible entrances/equipment was something I did regularly and without knowing it, honestly. That being said, I have been raised in an environment of acceptance, growth, and a yearn to help. Seeing what recreational therapy is really about at Western Carolina has driven me toward opportunities I never expected and that I’m so thrilled to have gotten. For instance, being able to travel to different facilities with various populations to not only lead implementations for them as practice, but just to soak in what the field was all about- the people! This is what really makes it all worth it.
I personally chose Hinds’ Feet Farm for multiple reasons, but mostly because of the family feel I experienced when I went for an interview/tour. I instantly felt the calming and welcoming environment when I visited for the first time which was so enlightening. In addition, I received a wonderful tour from one of the members who made me feel at home with her friendliness and openness. I knew that HFF was a place that I could truly learn from the staff/members not only about brain injuries, but about leadership, camaraderie, and adapting to new environments.
Now at HFF, I still feel that warmhearted feeling every time the members arrive and we are able to have genuine and family-like conversations. On top of the pure joy we all experience together, I have learned so much already but I also get to have the hands-on experience that I desperately desired after the pandemic. I have learned many things regarding traumatic brain injuries, but also about the cognitive tendencies, mental stimulation, limitations (or lack thereof), and overall interests! I really enjoy hearing the members’ stories of their brain injury and how they have used it for good. I have yet to hear a story that ends in self pity or looking for sympathy, but rather inspiring words and ambition to live life to the fullest- post injury. I am so stoked to see what the rest of the internship at Hinds’ Feet Farm will bring, as my heart is so full already!