On June 16, Regis University Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students of the Class of 2022 and 2023 had the opportunity to introduce the physical therapy profession, in all its forms, to the students of Porter-Billups Leadership Academy (PBLA). The Porter-Billups Leadership Academy is an organization started by former Regis University Men’s basketball coach, Lonnie Porter, and NBA star, Chauncey Billups. This organization serves over two hundred and fifteen 4th-12th grade students with the intent of providing academic and leadership training to at-risk inner city students in Denver.
With the goal of introducing the profession of physical therapy to students of all ages from a wide range of racial and cultural backgrounds, Regis University DPT students spent two hours sharing their love for physical therapy with PBLA students through various physical therapy related activities. Students of every age group participated in activities designed to demonstrate the integral roles our muscles, brain, and cardiovascular system play in our day to day life and in our overall health. From getting their heart rate up during ultimate frisbee to receiving electrical stimulation to get muscles activating, students were immersed in all things physical therapy.
Fourth through seventh graders received instruction on how to apply kinesiotape and athletic tape to help reduce pain at different joints, how to measure grip strength and improve balance, and understand the important role our heart plays in our health. Eighth through tenth graders analyzed the different phases of overhand throwing, practiced with electrical stimulation to facilitate muscle activation, discussed strategies to manage mental health, and conversed with Regis University students about college life. Eleventh and twelfth graders were able to participate in a weight lifting session, participate in a guided activity in the cadaver lab, and discuss how to choose a college and a major.
Personally, this event furthered my pride in being a member of the Regis University School of Physical Therapy. Following a year of minimal interaction with our peers and the community, this event showed the value of gathering with the intent of furthering the good of our neighbors and ourselves. As students, we have a deep sense of gratitude for the opportunity to interact with the PBLA community and share our love for our profession. Regis University students reflected on the experience saying:
“I grew up in an area that would have benefitted from a program like PBLA. It’s heartening to see young people of color have the opportunity to thrive. I am thankful to have been part of this experience and hope to help out again next year!” -Sung Yi, Class of 2023
“Having lived in Denver for over 4 years now, I strongly identify with the greater Denver community. PBLA was a great experience for me to show up as a leader in the community, and represent Regis University and the DPT program. Getting the chance to interact with the students gives me great confidence that the students will become leaders in their life, in their own way. I hope they learned something of value from us, and I can’t wait to participate again!” -David Shaw, Class of 2023
“Volunteering in the cadaver lab for PBLA was such a fun experience! I loved being able to help the students discover the different parts of what their future could hold and show how unique of a learning experience the cadavers are!” -Sam Snyder, Class of 2023
“PBLA has been one of the most fulfilling service-learning experiences I have had at Regis. Being able to engage, play, and create with the students reminded me of how valuable such experiences are for young students. I am so proud of the team and fellow students who made this opportunity possible and looking forward to see our relationship with PBLA grow.” -Victoria Patton, Class of 2023
“It was so fun to work with the kids and learn about what they are excited about and interested in so that we could cater what we wanted to teach them to what they cared about. I loved having an opportunity to connect with and learn from an age group that I ordinarily wouldn’t have much opportunity to work with.” -Micah Boriack, Class of 2022
“It was so fulfilling and rejuvenating to share my love for physical therapy with the students and allow them to experience what our profession has to offer. Seeing the students get excited about modalities like functional electrical stimulation and start to think about ways to utilize modalities for various impairments was so incredible to see, and my hope is that we have planted the seed and have gotten the students excited about potentially pursuing a career in physical therapy one day.” -Brittney Martinez, Class of 2022
We want to extend our gratitude to the PBLA leadership, teachers, and students for allowing us into their community. We hope to further this relationship in the coming years and continue to share our love for physical therapy with the many talented and joyful PBLA students who experience Regis University each summer.
Check out PBLA’s website here! https://www.porter-billups.org/
Reflection by Annie Fleming, Class of 2022