Undergraduate Student Service Learning Experience
Michele Headley is a fourth year student in the Health Science Program who recently completed a service learning experience at Al’z Place, an adult daycare for individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease as well as other memory impairments.
Upon completing and presenting her experience, Michele was recognized for having the the overall best presentation among a group of undergraduate students who also presented their service learning experiences in a class taught by Dr. Moorhouse.
Michele spent 10 hours each week at Al’z Place by engaging clients in several activities such as trivia, crossword puzzles and physical activity in an effort to boost their cognitive and physical health. She also served clients lunch and snacks and could be found entertaining the clients with karaoke.
As part of her service learning experience, Michele had to develop and implement a new activity with the clients. Feeling inspired, she decided to put together a flip book with pictures and captions of things important to the clients, either currently or in their past. This seemingly simple activity translated to a meaningful book of memories that captured important characteristics of the clients’ lives such as family, favorite past-times and even prior occupations. Due to Michele’s creative inspiration and contribution, not only are clients left with a source to re-vitalize their memories, but future volunteers and workers have the ability to get to know their clients in a way that may not have been possible prior.
When Michele was asked about the highlight of her experience she commented, “Every day of my experience at Al’z Place was a highlight. Just going in to volunteer, being able to put a smile on the client’s faces and getting them to interact in the activities that were going on was enough to make my day.”
Michele is currently in the Pre-Public Health and Pre-Medical Track as well as concurrently completing a minor in Family, Youth and Community Sciences. Upon completing this experience, Michele decided that she will pursue her Master’s in Public Health and subsequently Medical School.