As an Occupational Therapy Assistant student, Breanna chose to do her first field rotation at Villa.
Villa is proud to have a wide variety of volunteers as part of the Villa family. Volunteers come to Villa from diverse backgrounds and for many different reasons, but each comes with the desire to give back to those in need. From local corporations, businesses, and organizations looking to make an impact in the community, to 4th graders putting on an adapted play for our special needs students, to families wanting to decorate our Residential homes for the holidays, to graduate students getting their first taste of a career in special education or occupational or speech therapy, our volunteers help make Villa the special place it is today.
Volunteer Breanna Sustayta, an Occupational Therapy Assistant student from Stanbridge University, decided to do her first field rotation with Villa School’s Occupational Therapy (OT) clinic. Wanting to broaden her horizons, she chose Villa because Villa’s population is very different from those covered by Breanna’s teachers, who focus more on traditional pediatric OT facilities. “It’s not just what you learn in school,” Breanna commented. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with many different students and I am impressed by how inclusive Villa’s programs are. There is a focus on each student’s individual needs.”
Villa strives to provide the tools for each individual to reach their full potential, and Breanna has experienced firsthand how much students can grow with the support of the Villa family. On a recent field trip to the zoo, Breanna witnessed a remarkable scene between students. She recounted: “It started with one boy telling his friend, ‘I have autism, so that’s why I did that.’ His friend told him, ‘I have autism, too!’ Then the boy that I have been working with chimed in to say, ‘We all have autism!’ That amount of self-awareness can be difficult for these students, and I was excited to see such a big sign of growth.”
The experience of working with individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities offers a truly unique and rich learning experience and provides a new perspective for all of our volunteers. In the scope of a hopefully long career, Breanna’s time at Villa will be short, but impactful. “I am going to miss the staff and students when this rotation is over,” Breanna shared. “This is a very special family.”