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ADVANCE Perspective: Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine

Giving Back

Published November 7, 2011 3:35 PM by Danielle Bullen

I volunteer for an organization called Art-Reach that strives for equal access to the arts and culture regardless of audiences' abilities or incomes. Yesterday the organization celebrated its 25th anniversary at their big annual fundraiser. In a ballroom full of my fellow volunteers, donors and people whom the organization has helped, I couldn't help but feel proud of my small part in their mission.

If you do any kind of pro bono physical therapy work, then you will understand where I'm coming from. How many people do not get the therapy they need? Providing therapy services to community members who might not otherwise afford them is a noble cause. The APTA encourages its members to offer pro bono services under the professionalism arm of Vision 2020. And many of you have taken up the call to action. Whether it's PT students at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia volunteering at a clinic, the medical staff on board the Southern Wind offering therapy in remote locations or the PTA who collects shoes for underprivileged kids, there are countless examples of health care workers going above and beyond.

And if you're not part of the pro bono movement, then consider this: A study by the Corporation for National and Community Service shows people who volunteer have longer lifespans, higher functional abiliities, lower rates of depression and fewer incidences of heart disease. Not only is volunteering good for the people you serve, it's good for you. And as anyone who gives back to their community can tell you, sometimes that sense of accomplishment is the greatest motivation.

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