Students of the University of Central Florida’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program hosted their annual event Let’s Ignite, a field day of physical activity for children with disabilities and their families.
Let’s Ignite, also referred to as an activity day, was held on April 2 from 10 a.m. -2 p.m. Originally planned to be located at Memory Mall, the festivities were moved inside the Health and Public Affairs building due to the weather. The DPT graduate students along with UCF Doctor of Physical Therapy Program Lecturer Jennifer Tucker led the event.
The field day’s activities were individually adapted to each child’s needs to ensure all children were able to participate in a safe environment. Activities included face painting, soccer, basketball, dance area, relays and more. They were geared toward creating a memorable day for children ages five through 21 with physical and mental disabilities.
“It was started as an opportunity to create a place for children with disabilities to be exposed to different sports but have the ability for each of those activities to be tailored to meet their unique needs,” Tucker said.
According to Tucker, funding for the event totaled to about $2,500 and was used for food, equipment and the activities. A $1,000 grant from Track Shack, a silent auction and donations from Target, Whole Foods and community organizations made the day possible.
The PT graduate students also connected with people from Orlando City Soccer’s youth soccer program. Orlando City had a booth set up and an area to teach soccer skills at an appropriate level for the kids.
Jerilyn Toubman, second year physical therapy graduate student, was one of the coordinators for the event. She said feedback from last year comprised of families stating this is one of the only events where families can participate with their kids.
“We really geared it this year that parents can come and if they want to join in on the fun, that’s great, but if they want to finally take a moment to sit back and relax, they can do that too,” Toubman said. “That was really our goal; to give smiles to both kids and families.”
Clayton Stocker, also a second year and one of the coordinators, said he hopes more students and more kids with their families will come out the activity day in the future.
“We want it to be our thing,” Stocker said. “We want the UCF physical therapy program to be known for this, not only this, but we want people to know that we do the Let’s Ignite Activity Day. “
Coordinators for Let’s Ignite said they collectively agreed the activity day is always a rewarding experience. Hillary Dunn, second year physical therapy graduate student, said she values the having and providing the experience for the kids.
“It’s not every day that we can be alongside kids with disabilities so this also provides not only the kids with a free day, but also helps us, as PT students, grow,” Dunn said.