The History of PT in the Community
The idea of “PT in the Community” came about in New Orleans, during CSM 2018. A few of us decided to leave the conference center, that area of town all together, and went to a local school fundraiser. We spent time in the community, broke bread with them, danced with them, and donated to their cause. We then realized something that most of us probably already knew, but thought little about. And that is that thousands of us descend upon a city for a few days, but do little for the folks that actually live there. Yes, there have been a couple events in the past geared towards donating money to a local cause, but nothing that facilitated face-to-face interactions and sustained change.
During CSM 2019 in Washington DC our involvement grew and a flame of passion had been lit. A handful of us decided to pitch in and purchase supplies to distribute to local people experiencing it homelessness. Grabbing others along the way, we put together care packages containing soap, toilet paper, socks, gloves, protein bars, peanuts, sanitary wipes, bananas, oranges, and bottled water. A total of 36 bags were made and distributed, while also having the privilege to learn a little from those that would share.
CSM 2020 was even better! Pre-pandemic of course. We raised over $7,000 as a true grassroots effort. We secured equipment for 11 Denver Public Schools and provided several educational sessions on good health, physical activity, and physical therapy. We had volunteers serve several hundred meals and put together 320 care packages that went to multiple shelters around Denver.
And even though CSM 2021 was entirely virtual, we kept things going! The PT in the Community Challenge was born and local communities across the country were provided financial assistance. We had 4 out of our 10 competing teams take back funding to support their own local needs and initiatives.
CSM 2022 exceeded all expectations!! We raised almost $14,000 for our visit to San Antonio, TX, distributing funds and supplies/equipment to several local organizations and elementary schools. Almost 400 care packages of varying items and supplies were put together to support multiple local organizations. Sweatshirt & sweatpants combos and full-size comforters were given to warm 50 people. Thousands of diapers and wipes, & miscellaneous items were donated to A New Life for a New Generation, a local organization that helps parents and guardians with material assistance. $800 donation to San Antonio Food Bank to provide over 5,700 meals. We spent 3 mornings with participants of Street to Feet, a local organization that facilitates 5K training of individuals experiencing homelessness. Our volunteers educated on and facilitated general strengthening, dynamic strengthening, and recovery techniques, while answering questions and concerns of their participants. We held a fundraising and mentorship event in partnership with PT Proud and Thrive Youth Center, an organization that serves the homeless LGBTQ+ community in San Antonio.