The purpose of the Humanitarian Award is to honor individuals or groups who, through their humanitarian activities, have demonstrated exceptional commitment to the philosophical principles of occupational therapy. The CFOT was honored to present the 2015 CFOT Humanitarian Award to Michelle Craft for her ongoing contributions to the Pad Project serving young women in Kenya, Africa. The Pad Project makes washable, re-usable maxi pads for girls and women in impoverished areas in Kenya. The Pad Project is part of Too Little Children, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. More information is available on their website.
The Pad Project was initiated to address a pressing need to help girls remain in school in Kenya. A school principal in Kenya reported that as school girls reached menarche, they were often missing a week of school every month due to the limited availability of feminine hygiene products. School fees in Kenya are a major expense for families and often girls miss school or drop out when they start menstruating. Older boys started buying disposable feminine hygiene products and were giving these to girls in exchange for sex. Emma Stober coordinated a project to make washable, re-usable pads. Emma initiated workshops in her areas in the Midwest and in North Carolina initially.
Emma met Michelle though the pastor at Michelle’s church. Emma wished to establish a pad workshop near Travis Air Force Base where her husband had been transferred. She asked the pastor to identify individuals in the congregation who might be willing to establish a pad workshop in the area. Michelle was a member of the church and known to the pastor. The pastor suggested that Emma contact her and a wonderful heartfelt, healthful, and humanitarian endeavor was initiated at Michelle’s quilt shop, The Quilted Heart, in Vacaville, CA.
Michelle provided workshop space, expertise, and recruited volunteers. Michelle is a skilled seamstress and also a retired special education teacher. As any good special education teacher would, she broke down the tasks involved in the assembly of the pads into different steps requiring varying degrees of skill and established an assembly line of tasks so that interested volunteers could assist without the necessity of being skilled seamstresses. She recruited a large core group of volunteers and also improved upon the stitches used in the machine sewing to make a more durable product. She used and uses her business license to purchase necessary materials at a reduced cost and she actively solicits donated materials needed for the project. She has conducted monthly workshops since August of 2013 and these workshops generate the largest number of pads for the overall project. Another important part of the project is having someone in Too Little Children take the pads personally to Kenya to teach the girls how to use, care for the pads, and care for their bodies. Emma Stober was also nominated for the CFOT Humanitarian Award, but Emma felt that Michelle alone should receive the award as she and her volunteers are the largest group of Pad contributors.
The CFOT is honoring Michelle primarily for her important contributions to The Pad Project, but Michelle also hosts an annual fundraising event to support local cancer programs and she is also a team captain for the Relay for Life event to support the American Cancer Society.
The CFOT Honored Lectureship was established to recognize occupational therapists in the state of California who have demonstrated leadership, promoted ideas and vision in occupational therapy for the profession, and to provide the occupational therapy community an opportunity to hear them speak at a public gathering.
Deborah Bolding, Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA was the 2015 Honored Lecturer. Dr. Bolding is currently working in the Farewell to Falls program at Stanford Health Care and she is faculty and coordinator of the Post Professional Master’s Program in Occupational Therapy at San Jose State University. She has experience as a therapist in many different areas of practice - fall prevention, functional ambulation, prevocational evaluation, treatment of hands and juvenile arthritis. She also has experience as a manager, teacher, and fieldwork educator.
Dr. Bolding received her Bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Florida, her Master’s Degree from Boston University, and her PhD in Post-secondary and Adult Education from Capella University in Minneapolis. She has made numerous presentations at state and national conferences and has many publications. Her publications and presentations span a variety of professional and clinical areas. Professional areas include development of professional behaviors, evidence based practice and clinical areas encompass fall prevention, stroke and arthritis rehabilitation, functional ambulation, electromyography.
Dr. Bolding has been involved with and held leadership positions in many professional organizations over the years including The American Society of Hand Therapists, The Arthritis Foundation, The Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals, and The Association of Pediatric Therapists. She served as chair of a CBOT practice committee, is on the Practice, Ethics and Reimbursement Committee of OTAC, and is currently on ACOTE, the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education. She is a fellow of the AOTA and received certificates of Appreciation and the Fieldwork Educator Award from OTAC.
Dr. Bolding’s lecture was on Everyday Leadership. She said that she has worked with a variety of staff and has mentored students and has always been interested in learning how critical thinking is developed and nurtured and how practice that promotes lifelong engagement in the profession develops. She traced the steps to her leadership activities citing caring and committed educators and practitioners who sparked the process.
This year the CFOT awarded $18,000 in scholarships, $2100 in traineeships, $6000 in research grants, and $1500 in seed money requests! The CFOT had 3 new scholarships to offer students this year for a total of 15 scholarships! Fredlyn Berger established the Every Child Achieves, Inc. Scholarship for a student interested in pediatric practice. This is the first year that the CFOT awarded the Frank J. Biehl Opportunity Scholarship in honor of the man we describe as the heart and soul of CFOT. A third scholarship was gained through the donation of a recipient of a CFOT research award, Joyce Cabrara. Joyce did not use all the money for her project, returned the money she did not use, and then donated money. With that combination, we were able to provide an additional scholarship for a student. Thank you Freddie, Joyce and all of our major donors who provide scholarships and traineeships!!
The CFOT continued to offer a reduced rate for students for the CFOT luncheon. In addition, the CFOT offered students an opportunity to attend only the lecture. We want to give students an opportunity to honor their fellow students receiving scholarships, to hear the CFOT Honored Lecturers, and to learn the accomplishments of our Humanitarian awardees. We encourage anyone to sponsor tables for our students!
In conference fundraising we generated monies through the silent auction and through matching the fundraising we generated through the challenge board worn throughout the exhibit hall. Bonita Kraft, Michele Berro, and Linda Florey matched amounts up to $500. Thank you conference attendees as we gained monies well beyond $500!!!! This is the 8th year Bonita has provided a match and the 2nd year for Michele. Thank you everyone for contributing auction items and contributing to our fundraising efforts. We are very, very grateful for your current support and your ongoing support for the past 34 years!