Ambassador Spotlight: Taylor Huckfeldt of DeSales University

Why are you passionate about service?

Why am I passionate about service? Well the simple answer would be because it “feels good” to help people, and frankly that is a big part of why so many of us are initially drawn to the physical therapy profession. That was certainly the case for me and it took me some time to really reflect on why this makes me feel so. But I found myself keep asking “Why not?” Why not participate in service activities? Why wouldn’t I take the time to serve a community filled with those who are in need of help? Why wouldn’t I push myself to make a difference in the lives of others? Why wouldn’t I use my level of higher education to guide others on a path that will provide them with more happiness in their own lives? And maybe that’s just the way my brain has been engineered to sincerely want to help others and get joy from pleasing people. I feel that my life has led me on a course that has put me in a position to positively influence those who surround me.  I personally view the physical therapy profession as a form of customer service to the community. We are in such a valuable position to be able to give back to those who are in need, while forming trusting relationships and truly making a difference in the lives of those around us. But to me, it all whittles down to the fact that I feel that community service brings people together and brings more happiness and trust to the world.

 

Tell us your favorite service memory.

My favorite service memory was the Philadelphia Phillies/Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania (CHOP) Halloween Party in October of 2014, in which pediatric patients were granted the opportunity to relax and celebrate a fun holiday with the Phillies staff, and of course the Phillie Phanatic! With this event I spent an afternoon doing everything I possibly could to get the children and families of CHOP to forget about all of the hardships they have been going through since being diagnosed with varying forms and stages of cancer. We played games, got faces painted, watched live performances, consoled family members, and tried to make an impact in the childrens’ lives. This service opportunity was especially important to me because I had been very involved in an event that raises money in the fight against pediatric cancer during my undergraduate years at Penn State University. During the THON event of February 2014, I was granted the opportunity to stand in honor of those who had been affected by cancer for 46 hours. Although this was the hardest experience of my life to date, I would stand for 46 hours again in a heartbeat. These experiences of service in the pediatric population have taught me that life is too short to be anything but happy.


How has servant leadership impacted your professional career thus far as a student?

At DeSales University, we were introduced to the “paying it forward” philosophy. When empowered with an opportunity to give back to an individual member or entire community, it should always be taken, and the hope is that one day this help will be returned in one form or another. In the physical therapy profession I see the true value of this tradition not only by providing service to a community, but also through our interaction with peers/colleagues. I was able to implement this tradition within my first year of physical therapy school at a pro bono clinic during our summer semester. While volunteering our time to improve the health and well-being of others, I was reminded countless times over and over how fortunate I was to be entering a profession in which I am constantly learning, growing, and improving myself not only as a student physical therapist, but as a person as a whole. I promise to continue this tradition of giving back to the community, and embracing the true identity of physical therapist that allows me to become a more humble, appreciative, and dedicated person.


What are your service plans/ideas for PTDOS?

DeSales University has previously provided service to members of the Lehigh Valley area through events such as Special Olympics, Relay for Life, and local community 5K races, etc. We are hoping to utilize PTDOS to its fullest potential, and focus our efforts on impacting some of the less fortunate members of the Allentown community. We are expecting to have somewhere around 40 participants from the DeSales DPT program, and really want to make a positive influence in the area. October 17th cannot come soon enough!

 

 Taylor with kids at the CHOP benefit in October 2014. For more about Taylor's experience, see her favorite memory detailed below!

Taylor with kids at the CHOP benefit in October 2014. For more about Taylor's experience, see her favorite memory detailed below!