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Hope and joy spread at Princess Elizabeth Centre

Thursday, December 12, 2013
Volunteers from Team Hope help the children from Princess Elizabeth Centre to make Christmas decorations.

While Christmas is customarily a season of giving, for Team Hope, this occasion turned out to be slightly different. 


The group’s event last Saturday at Princess Elizabeth Centre was a special experience not only for the students and their families, but also for all of the members of Team Hope, a release said.


Team Hope (How Ordinary People do Extraordinary things) is a community based advocacy and awareness programme of the T&T Occupational Therapy Association (TTOTA). Seventy people have joined Team Hope to learn more about Occupational Therapy, raise awareness for this much needed profession, advocate for people of all abilities, fund-raise for the association and train for the Rainbow Cup triathlon in June 2014. 


The group’s first awareness initiative for the 2014 programme is with the students of the Princess Elizabeth Center. Team Hope’s coordinator and TTOTA’s Chairman, Priya Gomes explained in a release, “The goal of the event was to bring cheer to the students through the use of fun therapeutic activities while allowing the members of Team Hope to interact with the students and have a better understanding of their life experiences.” 


Occupational therapists, Jeanne Sabga-Aboud, Aliya Drakes and Stephanie Llanos led the therapeutic activities and along with the students, assisted them where needed. These activities included making and decorating a Christmas wreath and Christmas ornaments, which were all made from household items like paper plates and corn starch. Their creations were then decorated with kite paper, glitter and homemade paint. These activities allowed the students to focus on their gross motor skills (walking, sitting upright), fine motor co-ordination (writing, grasping, pinching) and engaged their minds in creative processing. 


There was also face painting, food and drink and an appearance by Santa with gifts for everyone.


“This event was not only for the students and their families, but also for hopees to have a better understanding of what occupational therapy is and how it is beneficial to people of all abilities,” said Gomes. 


“It is estimated that 15 per cent of a population is deemed to have a disability, therefore there are more than 195,000 people in T&T who could benefit from our services.


“However with only nine occupational therapists, many citizens do not have access to these specialised services and unfortunately there is only one occupational therapist in the public system.”


TTOTA and Team Hope were high in praise of the staff and students of the Princess Elizabeth Centre, as well as for sponsors Mario’s, Hadco, Rituals and Blue Waters.


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