Recreational therapy students to host fundraiser

Western Carolina University’s Recreational Therapy Association will host a pancake breakfast from 7 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 15, at the Cullowhee United Methodist Church.

The breakfast will raise money for the association’s service learning project, an annual senior prom at Mountain Trace Nursing Home. The prom provides an evening of dining, dancing and socializing for residents of the nursing home.

“Recreational therapy majors are required to take the course ‘Recreational Therapy for Older Adults,’ where they complete a service learning project with Mountain Trace’s Alzheimer’s unit,” said Peg Connolly, WCU’s recreational therapy program director and associate professor. “The course focuses on treatment interventions to reduce some of the behaviors associated with the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.”

Last year, about 50 residents took part in the prom, voting for “king” and “queen,” dressing in their best clothes and clapping to music by a bluegrass band that volunteered its time, Connolly said. Claudia King, Mountain Trace’s activities director, said it was the facility’s most successful event with the highest participation that she has witnessed.

“Funds raised at the breakfast will be used for decorations, plaques for the king and queen, and hopefully, like last year, we will be able to provide a beautician for a full day of services for the prom,” said Connolly. “I’ve received several messages from children of Mountain Trace residents who appreciate the efforts of the recreational therapy students. We hope to keep up our efforts to reach out to this group.”

Tickets to the breakfast, which will consist of pancakes, fruit, bacon and sausage, cost $5 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under. Tickets can be purchased by contacting Whitney Byrd at (336) 549-8404 or Shannon Maxwell at (828) 399-1583.

For more information about WCU’s recreational therapy program, call (828) 227-2481.