For years, community outreach efforts by SAU's Master of Occupational program have quietly been helping hundreds of people with disabilities.
"The community became our extended lab," Jon Turnquist said.
Even so, Turnquist and MOT Professor Phyllis Wenthe, PhD, believed that a more hands-on experience could do even more to benefit both their students and the community.
"We dreamt of this house, a place where students could learn how typical homes can be adapted. A place where people with disabilities and the practitioners who work alongside them could experience firsthand what's possible," he said. "This would be something unique-something no other occupational therapy program in the nation had."
Thanks to a grant from the Hubbell-Waterman Foundation and the support of the O'Rourke family, Jim's Place became a reality. The 1950s era ranch-style home just down the street from Ambrose's main campus showcases modifications that support people with a range of disabilities.
Throughout the house, innovative products provide a bit of a "wow" factor.
Amy Bartels '10 MOT, an occupational therapist on the west campus of Genesis Medical Center, said she's excited to show her patients the wide range of accessibility options.
"It's always easier when someone can see assistive technology and try it for themselves," she said. "Patients with decreased functionality are often not allowed to return home. Jim's Place shows that returning home is possible-and often less expensive than a long-term care facility. People don't want to be a burden. They want as normal a life as possible."