The Joseph Maley Foundation is currently hosting two spring-semester interns from the University of Indianapolis. Kirby Jones and Niki Schath are both members of the Class of 2018 who participate in cheerleading, among many other extracurricular pursuits. Both Kirby and Niki decided to continue their internship experience through the summer before they move on to graduate school; we are happy to keep them as part of our JMF family a bit longer! We invite you to get to know them more in this week’s blog.
Kirby is an Exercise Science and Pre-Occupational Therapy student who was introduced to the Joseph Maley Foundation during a Joseph Maley Friends Puppet Troupe performance for the university’s College Mentors for Kids program. At the same time, Kirby was starting to research potential internship sites for her senior year. She discovered the Joseph Maley Fitness adaptive athletics program, which was a perfect combination of her undergraduate and graduate interests.
As an intern, Kirby has delved deeply into adaptive athletics. One of her favorite moments came during a run2gether practice session. “Nearly thirty people had packed into the Athletic Annex in Broad Ripple on a cold and rainy Saturday morning. The captains were so excited and bubbling with energy, and the crew-members were eager to hear about the upcoming year. At one point, parents had a moment to share [their stories], and it was amazing to hear how JMF had impacted their lives and their child’s. To see so many people from different backgrounds come together for one similar cause was so powerful,” she shared.
Kirby is incorporating her internship experience with her career plans. “I have had to communicate with so many new individuals through email, phone and face-to-face conversations. Prior to this internship, I was very uncomfortable reaching out to new people. Being a successful therapist requires excellent communication skills, and gaining this experience will be very beneficial to me in graduate school and beyond. Working with children of all abilities has increased my comfort level; I can see a lot of growth in myself.”
Niki is an Exercise Science and Pre-Physical Therapy student at the University of Indianapolis. In her junior year, one of Niki’s instructors, Mindy Mayol, hosted HOPE Director Jen Money-Brady in class to talk about JMF’s mental health program and volunteer opportunities. This sparked an interest in Niki as she researched her options for a senior-year internship experience.
Niki has primarily worked with the disABILITY Awareness program; this has been a springboard for her to explore other JMF programs as she continues her internship through the summer of 2018. “I am looking forward to being involved in more of the planning that takes place during the summer months in preparation for the upcoming school year.”
Niki shares Kirby’s enthusiasm about gaining useful skills as part of her internship experience. “I have increased my comfort level in meeting and conversing with individuals for the first time. I have also expanded my knowledge greatly about various disabilities. Educating children about disabilities has driven me to do some of my own research and learn as much as I can about the topics I am teaching. Working with children has been a great step to becoming a pediatric physical therapist,” she shared.
When asked what she wants others to know about her experience with the Joseph Maley Foundation, Niki offered, “From the start of my internship, I have never felt uncomfortable asking questions or sharing my ideas with any member of the team. The family-oriented atmosphere always stands out. I hope I am able to expose as many people to this incredible foundation as possible.”
We are very fortunate to have Kirby and Niki on our team. These amazing young women are dedicated to serving others and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for them.
Post written by:
Courtney Basso, Events and Communications Director