Magazine article Aging Today

Teens Help Veterans

Magazine article Aging Today

Teens Help Veterans

Article excerpt

The ASA Undergraduate Student Award went to Philip Nodhturft, a sophomore at Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H. His research, conducted in the summer of 2002 at the Tampa Veterans Administration Medical Center, Tampa, Fla., examined the effectiveness of a creative arts program involving teenage volunteers and elderly patients who had been impaired by spinal injuries.

Nodhturft recruited 27 students, ages 15-17, from seven Tampa-area high schools to work with 26 participants in the hospital's new Spinal Cord Center. Most of the veterans, all male, were 55-65 years old. The researcher also recruited a small group of seasoned volunteers to serve as peer mentors and trained them in self-efficacy strategies aimed at making the students "feel welcomed, valued and part of the team." Among the program activities were wheelchair dancing, painting and creative writing.

The researcher tested both the students and veterans before and following the program, and conducted interviews and focus groups with them at the conclusion of the project. …

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