Rec Therapy Month Student Spotlight Kaley Almond

February is National Recreational Therapy month! Join us as we celebrate all month long and hear from current RT students and alumni.

Name: Kaley Almond

Graduation year:  2021!

What are your hobbies?
I love to try out new recipes, going shopping, spending time with friends and family, go on walks with my puppy, and taking spontaneous day trips with my friends! 

What brought you to ECU?
Every summer my family and I would drive past ECU as we headed to the Outer Banks for vacation. I can remember driving past all the Pirate fans, the tailgates, and the amazing Pirate pride that seemed to radiate throughout the entire town. Reading the words “Pirate Nation” on billboards and signs as we drove through was always something I looked forward to and was something I wanted to be a part of. It wasn’t until my Senior year of high school that I really considered ECU being the school for me as I stumbled upon the recreational therapy major on the website. I attended the fall open house and absolutely fell in love with the beautiful campus, home like feel and of course, the RT program! I am so thankful to now be a part of Pirate Nation and will always bleed purple and gold!

Why do you want to enter the field of recreational therapy? 
I have such a heart for helping others so when I first learned about recreational therapy, I was hooked and knew that I wanted to become an LRT! I love having the opportunity to impact the lives of others using a holistic approach to treatment, helping them participate and interact in meaningful activities, working to promote autonomy, independence, and overall wellbeing. In addition, getting to advocate for patients and watching them progress towards meeting their goals and outcomes is very rewarding.

Tell us about your current internship?
I am currently a recreational therapy student intern at Vidant Medical Center on the Behavioral Health Unit here in Greenville! It has been such an amazing and rewarding opportunity thus far as I have been able to see firsthand the need, benefit, and use of recreational therapy. Having the opportunity to intern at VMC has been a dream come true as I can be a part of place that makes such a difference in our community. Seeing the smiles, improvement, and progress patients make each day makes it worth it. I am currently working on the spring “intern special project” that VMC requires of RT interns in which I will be creating a collection of protocols centered around a central modality that future therapists can utilize.

What aspects of recreation​al therapy do you enjoy the most?  
I love how recreational therapy can be adapted to fit the needs of each and every patient. Recreational therapy continuously provides therapeutic outcomes and allows for growth, creativity, research, and support.

What has been your favorite experience working in recreational therapy so far? 
My favorite experience working in recreational therapy thus far is getting to see first-hand the positive effects, benefits, and therapeutic outcomes that our services bring to patients. From their big smiles, fist bumps in the halls or simple thank you’s- it makes it so rewarding!

Do you have a favorite Rec Therapy course or professor?
I really loved cognitive/psychosocial interventions with Mrs. Whisner. Mrs. Whisner continuously pours herself out to her students and truly cares about our education, success and beyond. I must admit that it was in Mrs. Whisner’s class where my eyes were opened to even the thought of working in behavioral health and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I am so thankful for her advice, guidance, and example along the way.