Thank you to all of you who have joined us in supporting The Mercy Kids Foundation and their Occupational Therapy Center in Jalapa, Nicaragua. Recently their Executive Director Mary Nelson sent out an update and we thought it was a good idea to pass this on to you!
OSU Occupational Therapy Students Visit
In July, The Mercy Kids welcomed a team of nine graduate students from The Ohio State University’s occupational therapy program at The Mercy Center in Nicaragua.
Their two-week trip was wildly successful!
The students arrived ready to answer this question: how can our Life Coaches use the principles of OT to help facilitate the Mercy Kids’ goals and dreams? Every day, students engaged with kids and the Mercy Kids Staff to create real-life solutions. The students also presented workshops on trauma care, autism, and palliative care.
"It was quite amazing for me to stand back and soak in the beauty of the collaboration between our team and theirs," says Mary Nelson. "Eleonora, one of our Life Coaches said, 'I just want to be a literal sponge the whole time the team is here.'”
Because taking adaptive equipment into Nicaragua is challenging, they’ve spent years looking for solutions for kids who need wheelchairs and other adaptive equipment.
Dr. Elaine Keane, one of trip’s facilitators, gave the Mercy Kids staff an introductory class on making adaptive devices with an incredibly unexpected material: corrugated cardboard.
Mary Nelson: "Never in our wildest dreams could we have imagined a solution for our kids day-to-day problems would come from a material commonly available in Nicaragua. Dr. Keane’s idea for The Mercy Center has potential to radically change daily life for our kids. We are so excited to send Nene, one of our staff members, to Ecuador for continued training."
In May, Eduard had surgery on his right hand that separated Eduard’s thumb bone from his hand. The surgeon used a skin graft to shape a thumb for him. After one more procedure in September, Eduard will hopefully have a radically greater ability to use his right hand.
Just this week, we received incredible news: Shriners Chicago will provide Eduard with some sort of prosthetics! After his procedure in September, we will learn more about what his prosthetics will look like.
New Program Updates
Earlier this year, the Mercy Kids hired Zayda as their new teaching assistant and she has expanded their educational programing to offer more tutoring to the kids.
New hires Eleonora and Joel work as Life Coaches, providing adaptive solutions to daily life problems. They’ve taught skills from hand-washing to folding laundry to better listening skills.
Anyeli, for example, has been taught to use an "adapter" so she can use a spoon and toothbrush.
We look forward to see the life coaching program grow after the training provided by the OSU team!
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