Students help farmworkers and families in rural Georgia

This June, faculty and students in Brenau University’s Ivester College of Health Sciences traveled to a farming community near Moultrie, Georgia, to provide vital health care to workers and their children.

This marked the third time Brenau’s Department of Physical Therapy has participated in the Farmworker Family Health Program, having previously visited in 2018 and 2019. This year, they were also joined for the first time by students and faculty from Brenau’s Lynn J. Darby School of Psychology and Adolescent Counseling.

“We were able to work mostly with the children and provide informal screenings, identify children who may need more counseling or that might need formal assessments due to some learning deficits,” says Cindy Grapenthin, assistant professor of psychology and director of the Brenau Center for Counseling & Psychological Services on the Norcross
campus. “We provided group activities for the children and worked on self-esteem, cooperation and social skills. The students benefited greatly from the experience, and we look forward to returning next year.”

During the day, third-year PT students went to local elementary schools to assess the gross and fine motor skills of farmworkers’ children. Around 100 children were evaluated. In the evening, after the farmworkers finished work for the day, students evaluated and subsequently treated them for various musculoskeletal impairments or injuries, which can happen after working long hours in the fields.

“I come from an area where farming is a way of life for some people, and I have seen some of the hardships that come with being a farmer,” says Brenau PT student Cayley Gunter. “I wanted to be able to give back to them the same way they give to us.”

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