The core philosophy of the nursing curriculum at West Coast University is compassion for others – to serve the community with dedication. That philosophy was embraced by students and faculty in Santa Clarita over the weekend, who volunteered at the 10th annual Cupid’s Ball, a special event held by nonprofit Bridges to Ability. Bridges to Ability provides social, recreational, vocational and educational programs for teens and adults with developmental disabilities in the Santa Clarita Valley. Differently-abled individuals are empowered to maximize their potential to lead a more independent, healthy, and enriched quality of life. Cupid’s Ball is an event designed to promote social interaction and a healthy lifestyle.
West Coast University nursing faculty member Melanie Cross, RN, MSN helped launch Bridges to Ability and encouraged nursing students to volunteer for the event.
“The students need volunteer hours as part of their degree program, which is intended to make sure that nursing students spend time in the community,” Cross said. “So it seemed like a natural fit for students to help with Cupid’s Ball and they did a phenomenal job. I’m very proud.”
More than 50 WCU nursing students from North Hollywood and Los Angeles participated.
“We never really get to see things like this, or interact with patients outside of an acute care setting, so this is great,” said BSN student Igor Livshits.
“This really shows us what’s going on in our community and puts what we learn in textbooks into real life,” said BSN student Kaitlynn Ashley. “I grew up here in Santa Clarita and didn’t know about this program. It’s amazing, and now that I know about it, I can continue to be involved after my experience at West Coast.”
“This is something that is very much needed in the community,” said Santa Clarita resident Gary Spindt, who volunteered at the event. “I have a daughter who has disabilities and I think it’s important that she and others like her have meaningful activities to participate in.”
Spindt said the presence of WCU students was vital to the success of the event. “Any time you have volunteers who come out, pitch in and have fun, and they enjoy what they’re doing… it’s awesome. They didn’t pity the clients- they accepted them and just had a good time with them; you can’t ask for more than that.”
For more information about Bridges to Ability, visit BridgestoAbility.org.