Learning is a hands-on experience at Cabarrus College. Students take what they learn in the classroom into the community, putting their education to work to help others.

Twenty-three students enrolled in the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) associate degree program worked with children ages four to eight at the Wings of Eagles therapeutic horseback riding camp in Mt. Pleasant. It was the perfect environment for students to utilize the knowledge and expertise they had gained over the previous semesters.

Nancy Green, program Chair for the OTA program believes it is a great learning experience for students in the program and says "It is all hands on, and no one is critical. The students learn so much and are exposed to children of varying ages and abilities."

OTA students believe it is great to be able to build their skills while enriching the lives of others. "Working at the Wings of Eagles was a valuable experience for me because I got to see so many different pediatric diagnoses. I moved from the role of a casual observer to seeing through the eyes of an Occupational Therapy Assistant student," says Theresa George, Cabarrus College OTA student. Hands on experiences such as this prepare Cabarrus College students for life after college. It not only contributes to high pass rates on certification exams (96% in 2012), it helps students understand the many ways they can have a positive impact on the community.

Becoming a knowledgeable and competent health sciences professional is hard work. Reaching out to the community can make that experience fun, especially when you help put a smile on a child's face.
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