OTD student working with elderly patient

Bear Paw Center

Empowering Wellness Through Occupational Therapy and Student Outreach

The B.E.A.R. P.A.W. Center stands for Bringing Equity, Accessibility, and Rehabilitation to People Achieving Wellness. The Bear Paw Center (BPC) is one of the first student-run occupational therapy pro bono clinics in the country and serves as a model for other institutions. Students involved in the BPC have the unique opportunity to give back to the Greater Springfield community by providing hands-on occupational therapy services under the direct supervision of a licensed Occupational Therapist. This is an integral part of the WNE OTD curriculum because we believe that ample opportunity for hands-on, experiential learning allows our students to apply their classroom knowledge in real-world settings, preparing them for successful careers in the field.

Bear Paw Center

Hear first-hand from Occupational Therapy students involved in the Bear Paw Center about their experiences helping individuals in the community improve their quality of life and get back to doing the things they enjoy.

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy helps people do the things they love, by developing the skills they need to be successful in their daily activities. Occupational therapy can benefit people of all ages and abilities. It is particularly helpful for those who may have difficulty with everyday activities due to a physical, cognitive, or mental health condition. This can include individuals recovering from injuries or surgeries, adults with chronic conditions such as arthritis or stroke, and older adults experiencing age-related changes. Occupational therapy can also benefit individuals who want to improve their overall wellness, such as athletes or musicians looking to optimize their performance. Whatever your goals, an occupational therapist can work with you to develop a personalized plan to help you achieve them.

Pediatric occupational therapy focuses on helping children and their families succeed in important areas of their lives. The main goal of occupational therapy is to enhance children’s ability to engage in activities that are crucial for their physical, cognitive, social-emotional, and sensory development. Through purposeful play, OTs assist children in developing essential skills for daily tasks including self-care (feeding, dressing, toileting, etc.), school-related activities (handwriting, fine motor skills, cutting, etc.), play, communication, social interaction skills, and overall independence. By tailoring interventions to each child’s unique needs and goals, OTs empower both children and families, providing them with the tools and strategies necessary for ongoing growth and success.

The center's purpose is to provide occupational therapy services to community members of Western Massachusetts who are uninsured or have run out of their allotted occupational therapy visits through their insurance. You will be asked to sign an educational volunteer release form, becoming a volunteer for student growth and learning while also being on the road to feeling better!

How can I make an appointment?

If you would like to set up an appointment with the BPC, you can call our phone number or email us, and we will get you in as soon as possible!

Contact Information

Bear Paw Center

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