This project provides a deeply important human service by providing prosthetics to people in and outside of the United States who have lost one or more limbs. The majority of these people live in countries where the poverty rate is high and/or military conflict is present. The project, therefore, underscores UVU's commitment to engagement and serves across cultures and political boundaries. This service has been rendered to:
Each student participant is expected to meet requirements that not only allow them to effectively change the lives of amputees, but also to ensure their own personal and academic growth through their involvement in this project. The entire community has the opportunity to participate by becoming a current member of the Mobility Mission organization and volunteering on one of the planning committees (e.g. travel, fundraising, other planning) while actively participating in a minimum of 75% of all programming and trip preparations. Some participants with majors requiring an internship will apply for and earn an internship. All participants are required to submit a pre-trip letter outlining and documenting their specific contributions to the planning and fundraising effort, and a related, pre-trip service community-engagement project. All students who complete the service expedition are required to submit a post-trip documentation and evaluation of their service in a presentation.
Before the trip, all students are trained in the construction, engineering, and fitting of prosthetics. Students are mentored by and work closely with Lane Ferrin, CPO. While in country, the students have the opportunity to engage in helping 15 - 30 individuals to be fitted for prosthetics and, thereby, regain their independence and ability to be self-reliant. The impact on the lives of amputees and their family members is astounding. The impact on UVU students through the service they render, and the volunteer learning experiences they have, is crucial to their success in future learning environments as they acquire added values while completing their degrees at UVU. It is a very rewarding and moving experience to help others in this way. Tears of gratitude are frequent and heartfelt!
Students engage in activities related to their majors in both the planning and execution of the project. For example, Joseph Coulson, a senior in Exercise Science at UVU, reported how his experience helped him strengthen his skills and résumé. Joseph wrote, "I strengthened my résumé for acceptance into medical school while providing a valuable service to amputees in a developing nation. As part of the Mobility Mission, I joined about a dozen UVU students who spent two weeks in Guatemala to provide free prosthesis to patients who have no other means of obtaining them. My role, as a pre-medical student, was to build and fit the prosthetic devices on site in Guatemala. As we fitted the new joints and limbs, my job was to monitor the patient’s gait to see how we could modify the design to be more natural. In addition to helping amputees, I made good friends and enjoyed watching my teammates employ their many skills on behalf of these good people. This project will benefit me when applying to medical school, but beyond that I had a chance to feel more connected to the world and put my education to good use."