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Therapeutic recreation students make an impact

Residents at Alden Poplar Creek show their activity packets created by Illinois State therapeutic recreation students.

Residents at Alden Poplar Creek show their activity packets created by Illinois State therapeutic recreation students.

Moving classes online for the spring semester due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation meant that many professors had to act quickly and be creative. Rachel Smith, instructional assistant professor in the School of Kinesiology and Recreation, rose to the challenge.

“The KNR 253 class is very hands-on, so I was not happy about moving the course online,” said Smith. “But, I decided that recreational therapists everywhere would have to get creative with providing therapeutic techniques, and that I should be creative about teaching it.”

Smith contacted Savanah Krafft ’17, activity and recreation director at Alden Poplar Creek, to see if there would be an opportunity for a partnership. Smith’s therapeutic recreation students created activity packets for the residents that focused on reminiscing and reality orientation, as well as cognition.

“My residents had huge smiles on their faces after receiving their activity packets; they were so excited to get them,” said Krafft. “Most of them stay in their rooms for most of the day and that can get very boring and very lonely. Having activity sheets to do and coloring pages not only keeps them entertained, but also keeps their mind stimulated and active.”

“The KNR students did a truly wonderful thing and brought joy to so many of their faces as well as helped me out greatly by taking a little bit of the load off of my back during this trying time,” said Krafft. “We are so appreciative of their work.”

“The students learned a skill and provided assistance,” said Smith. “I can’t help but be so thankful that we can continue to learn and teach, and also help others in this world.”

Illinois State University has a wealth of resources to support faculty, staff, and students during this time. For information and resources on navigating research, teaching, and learning online, please visit Coronavirus.IllinoisState.edu.