Each year, The American Occupational Therapy Association joins forces with communities all across the U.S. to educate students on backpack safety. Students, OT professionals, and educators want to help others live life to its fullest by avoiding the pain and injury that can come with heavy backpacks and bags. Students and community members work together to organize local events that help educate people of all ages on how to properly choose, pack, lift, and carry backpacks, purses, and even suitcases!

The GU Ruskin students carried on the tradition of holding Backpack Awareness Day in the community for the third year in a row. This year, 1st & 2nd year OTD students interacted with children aged 3-10 at the Brandon Homeschool Co-Op.

The students prepared activities and stations that consisted of “weigh-in” stations where students could weigh their backpacks and compared with what appropriate weights were for backpacks and kids their age. They also had a coloring and crossword station that used resources from AOTA, an activity with backpack “do’s and don’ts”. The OTD students provided each child a bag of candy and an informational sheet.

There was also a balloon craft that used balloons and flour to make a fidget object. Gannon students prepped most of the activities beforehand and the kids enjoyed every activity.

I had the opportunity to catch up with SOTA president, Emmeline Talbot about how the event went. She said, “It was so much fun engaging with the children and parents at backpack awareness day! Many of the children were able to show us correct body posture when putting on a backpack, and were interested to see what their bags weighed. It was great to see so much enthusiasm from the community, and to show people a glimpse of what OT can do”

Stay tuned for more Ruskin updates. Keep up the great work everyone and keep advocating for health & wellness for all!


-Sue Ram