OTA Program Volunteers at Rose Parade


The new year started off rosy for the occupational therapy assistant program at American Career College.

Seventeen people from ACC’s OTA program, including six faculty members, volunteered to help complete a 2017 Rose Parade float for the Occupational Therapy Association of California (OTAC). The float celebrated 100 years of occupational therapy as a profession. Fundraising and planning the float took several years, according to Jeni Dulek, OTA assistant program director at ACC-Orange County.

“Working on the float helped students learn more about the profession’s history while imagining its future, which they will create as occupational therapy assistants,” Dulek said. “Their fundraising and volunteer efforts helped demonstrate not only occupational therapy’s heart of service, but American Career College’s dedication to the community and all healthcare professions.”

Float decorating occurred at Fiesta Parade Floats in Irwindale for five days leading up to the New Year’s Day parade. While working on the float, students interacted with several leaders in OTAC, including its current president, Heather Kitching, and former president Pat Nagashi.

The idea behind the float, Dulek said, was to promote the profession by educating the Rose Parade’s worldwide audience about occupational therapy’s history and contributions to healthcare and the community. The float itself represented a “beautiful inspirational garden of life” with four pillars to represent four key foundational concepts of OT: work, rest, play and sleep. Float riders included OT practitioners, students and OT consumers with powerful stories of resilience.

“It was awesome to have faculty and students join together in contributing to such a historic moment for the profession of occupational therapy,” Dulek said.

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