Suzy Gordon’s Experience With AmeriCorps Program Launched Her OT Career

February 5, 2024
Mike Ralston
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Located on 325 acres of farmland in the idyllic town of Albany, New York, sits Triform Camphill Community, one of only two residential communities in the United States dedicated to supporting young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

After earning her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science at the University of Virginia, Suzy Gordon enrolled in an AmeriCorps program at Triform Camphill Community. It was there that she discovered her passion for occupational therapy. 

AmeriCorps  is a network of local, state, and national service programs that works with communities like Triform Camphill to address local challenges through intensive service to meet community needs in education, the environment, public safety, health, and homeland security.

“The school is a residential self-sustaining community for young adults with a farm, garden, bakery, weavery, and pottery studio. It’s basically an OT paradise. I learned that I loved working with the differently abled through the medium of functional tasks,” adds Gordon. 

Suzy continued her education in 2019, earning a Doctorate degree in Occupational Therapy from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has worked in the home health, psychiatric, acute care, and inpatient rehabilitation settings. 

Fulfilling Role at Pioneer School District 

Based in Boulder, CO, Suzy serves as an OT at Pioneer School District, a p-8 school district located in rural Washington. She works directly with students via video chat with the help of a paraeducator who helps provide extra guidance and support inside the classroom.

IMG_8529“This is my first year in pediatrics and so far and I am loving it. I call into IEP, 504, and eligibility meetings. I’m a resource for the teachers to help students succeed. This is my first time working remotely and I wasn't sure how it would go. I love people! I need people! I’ve been so happy to find that I’m building real relationships with people across the screen.” adds Gordon.

Typically, Suzy’s days are filled with 15-30 minute student sessions focusing on fine motor tasks. Her favorite tasks include folding intricate paper airplanes and writing out words for mad libs. 

“One of my proudest accomplishments is when a student who was absent and missed an OT session emailed me to say he was sick and wanted to come to OT later in the week. He was so sad to have missed the session. That felt so good.”

Care Options for Kids, formerly The Hello Foundation, believes in fostering a vibrant and fulfilling work environment. Our commitment to a positive culture and a work-life balance includes health benefits, professional development opportunities, peer collaboration and generous paid time off because we believe that time away is just as important as time at work. 

“I've never felt so supported by a workplace. Everyone is so kind and ready to help you. The emphasis on work-life balance with actual follow through is something I've never experienced before,” adds Gordon.

In her spare time, Suzy loves to rock climb, mountain bike, trail run and ski. Suzy’s biggest inspiration is her grandma, who turns 100 this year. 

“My grandma is fully independent and one of the most social and active people I know…always at lunch with the girls, she says!”

Suzy’s Three Tips for New Clinicians

  1. Ask questions and learn the answers.
  2. Know you're doing your best.
  3. Be kind.

Join Our Team!

The Hello Foundation is proud to be a part of the Care Options for Kids Community. We partner with school districts to provide seamless support for students, integrating into the school setting to deliver speech and occupational therapy and enhancing their social, emotional, and behavioral growth so they can better access the curriculum.

IMG_5302 (1)At Care Options for Kids, we are committed to making a difference for our people through empowerment and encouragement to be there for themselves and their own families. We provide the choices and opportunities our people need to enhance their lives and grow their careers so they can provide better care for others. We believe in making a difference in every way, every day.

With locations in Colorado, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Florida, Oregon, Washington, California, and Wyoming, the Care Options for Kids Community offers a wide range of pediatric health services, including pediatric therapies, ABA therapy, nursing, family caregiver services, and school-based services.

At THF, we hire speech-language pathologists, speech-language pathology assistants, school psychologists, and occupational therapists. Our community of professionals fosters growth for one another and for the kids we serve. Join our team!