During Summer 2006, an alumna of Xavier University, Stacey Walsh, went on a mission trip to Guatemala with a local Cincinnati-based group called MOMS (Mothers on a Mission). She told her story of working as an occupational therapist with children in homes for children at a state-wide occupational therapy conference where current students from Xavier’s Department of Occupational Therapy were in attendance. The students were so inspired by her words & by the video she created of her work with the children that they requested permission to conduct their service learning hours in Guatemala (rather than the greater Cincinnati community as was tradition).
In Summer 2007 three faculty members from the Department of Occupational Therapy went on the same mission trip with MOMS to pave the way & make arrangements so that future students would have such an option. Hence, an international academic service learning option for occupational therapy majors was born. It was offered for the first time Summer 2008. Itinerary plans are in process for the 7th annual trip in June 2014.