Push to Walk Collaborates with Local Universities
Push to Walk (PTW) has worked collaboratively with several area colleges and universities in creating and maintaining an internship program here at PTW’s specialized gym. These schools include William Paterson University, Ramapo College, Montclair State University, and TCNJ. Students from different majors have participated in the program including students majoring in Exercise Science, Communications, Marketing, Journalism, and Social Work.
The interns that are assigned to PTW gain valuable experience while earning college credit. PTW stands apart from other internships because the trainers and the staff work exclusively with individuals within the paralysis community. The interns learn firsthand about workouts, equipment, and current research in the field. Many of PTW’s current staff began their professional journey as interns and find it difficult to leave the clients and the organization behind after their internship hours are completed.
PTW’s Director of Operations, Stephanie Lajam, began as an intern in the summer of 2009. Since then, she has received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees while consistently remaining part of the PTW team. The relationships she has built with the clients, their families, the staff, and other networks will be everlasting.
My story is similar. My name is Amanda and I was one of the interns who found it difficult to leave after my hours were completed. It only took a few days to feel like I was part of the team. I am currently the Development Assistant for Push to Walk, and a junior at Ramapo College of New Jersey. I started as an intern in September of 2018 like many of the staff here at PTW. As an intern on the administrative staff, I was able to assist with grant writing, development tasks, and fund raising. I also worked along-side both the administrative and training staff.
At PTW the idea of community and building relationships is emphasized not only with clients, but the staff as well. Thanks to the experience and family-like atmosphere I didn’t even hesitate to answer when asked to work here part-time in January of 2019. Every action and task completed at PTW is to benefit the clients and I knew I wanted to continue to be part of that. I have since learned a lot about how a non-profit organization works, and how essential PTW is to the paralysis community. Interning, and now working here gave me the opportunity to be part of something bigger than myself; something so empowering it can change lives.