The following article appears in the spring 2020 issue of the Joseph’s Journey newsletter. Read the full newsletter here.

Cuyahoga Community College Partnership Extended through 2025

Student Occupational Therapists Help Residents Reconnect and Reintegrate

Occupational Therapy

Tri-C Occupational Therapy students work directly with Joseph’s Home alumnus Willie by playing a game of Scrabble.

In order to reach housing and health stability, some residents and alumni need to strengthen their physical, sensory or cognitive skills and may need to re-learn certain daily living tasks. This can be due to disabling conditions that may have continued undiagnosed or untreated for long periods of time while living on the streets.

To address these growing needs, Joseph’s Home established a partnership with Cuyahoga Community College’s (Tri-C) Occupational Therapy Assistant Technology Program in 2015. Through this partnership, Tri-C provides two Occupational Therapy Assistant Technology students each semester to work with residents in group settings, addressing specific needs of some individuals. For residents and alumni, occupational therapy provides a holistic approach to learn strategies, techniques and resources that empower them to perform meaningful daily activities and build toward their long-term life goals. Specific services include: assessing residents’ strengths and needs; assisting with art therapy and music therapy; and teaching basic skills such as housekeeping, conversation, games and activities.

Developing Social and Life Skills
Joseph’s Home alumnus, Walter, was very appreciative of these services. The occupational therapy students helped him during his time at Joseph’s Home with things like programming a device, playing a game of cards and helping him with details when he was working on his art therapy project. These types of services are important because residents often come to Joseph’s Home feeling very guarded and hesitant to open up to others. The students coming to spend time with them helps
each resident feel included and important. Being able to open up to the students about their strengths and weaknesses gives residents the chance to learn how to reconnect and reintegrate into the community. Through this program, several residents are better able to communicate with each other and have developed social and life skills to help them continue to grow and be successful outside of Joseph’s Home.

“Not all therapy comes in the form of a prescription. Many of our residents, some of whom did not feel like they needed ‘therapy,’ actively engaged in conversation and activities with the students. It truly had a therapeutic effect.” — Carrie Hetsler, Health Care Navigator

In March, Joseph’s Home and Tri-C’s Occupational Therapy Assistant Technology Program extended the partnership for another five years. Tri-C is a leader in providing real-world educational opportunities for its students and in providing needed services to the community. The students come to Joseph’s Home with faculty support and a readiness to accept the challenges at hand. Since there is typically an age difference between residents and students, they build unique
and valuable intergenerational connections.

“Tri-C is a great neighbor and terrific partner in service,” said Beth Graham, executive director of Joseph’s Home. “Partnerships like these allow Joseph’s Home to provide costeffective, person-centered care for a population with severe needs that are constantly changing and becoming more

We would like to extend a special thanks to all of our community partners, but especially Tri-C for committing to provide life-changing services to Joseph’s Home residents for years to come.