What kind of capstone do you do as a Psychology major thinking of becoming an Occupational Therapist? Savannah Sublousky ’15, a University Honors student and first generation Aggie from San Antonio, elected to try one of our new capstone options: the Undergraduate Service Scholars (USS) Program. The emphasis of the USS Program on community service and self-knowledge resonated with Sublousky’s personal values of love and giving, her Psychology major, and afforded her the opportunity to work closely with children to see if pediatric occupational therapy was a path she was interested in pursuing. Sublousky’s project involved developing projects with a group of preteens at the Boys and Girls club to encourage them to serve those who most need help, and hopefully to instill in them the desire to apply their knowledge in the future as leaders who give back to their community. What Sublousky created was a village of community effort that enriched the lives of many more than she expected.
One way the preteens at the Boys and Girls club are learning about themselves as future leaders is by finding ways to give back to the community now. Sublousky’s conversations with the preteens as she taught them about what being homeless meant made the preteens realize that although they themselves have no one at home in the afternoons to care for them, there are people who have no place to call “home” at all, and that they could help by making “sock stuffers” of things the homeless need. As Sublousky looked for a way to obtain supplies for the preteens to create sock stuffers of personal hygiene items like ChapStick, soap, and shampoo, she realized that members of her church, Connecting Point Christian Church, might be willing to donate those items. And indeed, her church group came through with everything she and the preteens needed to make the sock stuffers. Sublousky was then able to take the sock stuffers down to the Twin City Mission to support their efforts to help their clients. This reinforcing circle of community service from church to Boys and Girls Club to Twin City Mission, facilitated by Sublousky as a USS, has provided multiple groups with the opportunity to work together to make a difference.
And what has Sublousky herself learned from this experience thus far? Confidence in her ability to design and pull together a project that required coordination of multiple agencies, to communicate effectively with preteens, and to understand better where preteens are in their concerns and world view. She now understands better what it would be like to have an occupational therapy practice focused on children and preteens, and has found a way to channel her desire to help others and the values of her church to develop a whole cadre of community-minded people. Sublousky also says that working with the preteens has made her take a step back personally to appreciate the simple things she has and the joy of the moment as they do, rather than constantly stressing about every little thing.
What is Sublousky planning on having her preteens do next? She’s already finished the second project, where she and the preteens created Valentine’s Day cards for patients at one of our local hospitals to teach the preteens about the value of “unconventional” love that is not aimed at family or friends. Her next goal is to have the preteens make bracelets, not to keep for themselves, but to give to those they are glad to have in their lives in appreciation.
To learn more about the Undergraduate Service Scholars program, including contact and application information, please visit http://tx.ag/capstones