What if. I imagine a few things have started that way in the past, and a few things will start that way in the future. This particular ‘what if’ came to my mind in February 2015. I was doing health volunteer work off the Amazon River in Peru. As I looked upon the river, an idea that had been bubbling in the back of my mind suddenly shot to the front in full force. What if, on the same day, clinicians, students and associated staff of the Physical Therapy profession volunteered in different communities around the world? What if, we then shared those moments and acts in a way that was galvanizing, inspiring, and promoted connections all over the world? What if!? Being on the Amazon and watching the river flow, I couldn’t help but think of our profession of Physical Therapy as a flowing river. A river made up of passion, love, life, kindness, and heart. A river that enhances and is enhanced by the shores it passes and the encounters it makes. Our River. Our Profession. Our Communities. The idea was taking form that a Day of Service would serve as another wave to have a positive impact on all involved. I was smiling as the thought was developing and I knew I had to share it with someone. I emailed Josh right away...
Let's really do this. Back in February, I received an email at about 11:30pm. As I curled into bed and saw the email was from Efosa, I could not help but read it. Our exchanges often serve as a place to pro-flect on our lives, careers, and what physical therapy can and should be. This particular email happened to be a new idea, something to the effect of starting a 'PT Day of Service.' Three sentences into the email, I had a visceral response, one that told me this is something we not only should do, but something we need to do; a chance for the profession to show what we can do when we all work together. At 11:35pm, I popped back up, turned the light on, and flipped open the laptop. Over the next 15 minutes, I did my best to articulate that this was NOT just another idea, this is a movement we HAVE to start.
Later on that night as I drifted off to sleep, I remember the last thought that crossed my mind: 'Let's really do this. Let's shoot for the stars.'
EFOSA & JOSH:
What was once an idea has evolved into a real, palpable movement driven by eight volunteers, a growing list of international ambassadors, and many supporters across the world. We have had the chance to talk about servant leadership, community engagement, and all that is possible when we ask ourselves how we can do our part to make life better for those around us, when we ask ourselves how can we put compassion into action. We know the impact will be real on not only those we serve, but on ourselves and our profession.
To our knowledge, this is the first global Day of Service coordinated by a whole profession. It gives us the chance to lead and serve at the same time. Our hope for this day is that it sparks new connections, strengthens established ones, and further stimulates conversations on how we can keep this river flowing strongly for our profession and the communities we touch. Because...What if.
Efosa is the Founder of Physical Therapy Haven. He received his B.S. in Kinesiology from Umass-Amherst, and his Physical Therapy Doctorate from the University of Scranton. He is driven by his love for this profession which allows us to use our hands and words to help others. The site contains rehabilitation resources geared towards rehab clinicians and it includes videos, study guides, as well as links to other useful sites.
Josh D'Angelo served as APTA Student Assembly President in 2013 and is now active with APTA's DC Chapter and Private Practice Section. He graduated from George Washington University's Doctorate of Physical Therapy program in 2013, where he was the University's sole student to win the George Washington Award. Josh is also a former APTA Mary McMillan Scholarship awardee and is currently practicing in the outpatient orthopedic setting in Washington, D.C. He is passionate about using the unique skillset physical therapists offer to serve the greater DC community. Josh is an integral part of the PT Haven team via editing and content creativity.