To the Community,
Yo! I’m Jenner, and I also happen to be one of the co-founders of Take Today.
When my best friend Chris and I began this project a short (and at times long) year-and-a-half ago, we spent hours talking about our mission. Coming off an epic 65-day US road trip, we were incredibly inspired by the stories, passions, and outlooks of those we met along the way. It felt only right to create a community with a platform to share these stories and others like them. By building a community of awesome individuals that may not have crossed paths otherwise, Take Today was created to empower people with the same energy we thrived off of during our adventures.
Just like everyone else in the Take Today Community, Chris and I have our own stories. Our focus has always been on others’ journeys, but the time has come to share some of our own. Take Today is launching something incredibly special… but I’m getting ahead of myself. First, I’m here to share my story, and how I choose to Take Today.
Growing up, the only sliver of an idea that I had for my future profession was that I wanted to help people. It may be just about the cheesiest ideal that you could have, but it’s all 12-year-old Jenner could come up with. It all started because of my cousin, Daniel, who was born with cerebral palsy. Being similar in age, we were close growing up and interacting/playing with him was nothing out of the ordinary; I was cool being the one to run into the kitchen to grab snacks for us, folding his walker to fit in the car before going out to eat was just par for the course. We went to concerts together, had bonfires, and stayed up late listening to music and talking about girls. He wasn’t my cousin Daniel with cerebral palsy, he was just my cousin Daniel. As I grew up, I realized that perhaps my time with Daniel involved a mass of interactions that not many kids my age had the opportunity to experience. I noticed that a lot of the other kids saw people with disabilities differently than I did. I found that my inkling to help was actually a passion for working with people with disabilities. I started volunteering as a teaching assistant in a gym class for students with physical and cognitive disabilities, and became involved in Special Olympics as a tri-sport coach. Through the years, my experiences grew and my involvements mounted. I held multiple jobs providing respite care and mentorship to teens with cerebral palsy, and spent many summers and weekends as a counselor at camps for children and adults with varying disabilities. My passion had grown, and my life had changed. No matter what life had thrown at me, I always found comfort and a profound sense of meaning when I was surrounded by this population.
That’s when I found Occupational Therapy (OT).
“Oh, so that’s physical therapy, right?” Nah, dude.
OT is a career that’s about as broad as it is unknown. Occupational therapists (OTs) work with patients to help them regain their ability to complete the most basic tasks of living. This type of therapy is needed following a stroke, spinal cord injury or other traumatizing events, as well as recovery from general surgery to guide in regaining function. OTs also work with elderly adults to maintain independence throughout the aging process. OTs work with children and adults with disabilities to maximize function and independence in the activities that they find most meaningful. Ultimately, OTs help people do what’s essential for them to live an independent life. It’s similar to physical therapy in a lot of ways, however if PT helps someone walk to the door, OT helps someone open that door.
Last fall, I took the next step and started school for my Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy. I’ve enjoyed learning more of the technical information that will help me succeed as an OT, but most of my time is spent in the classroom. I’ve really missed working directly with the people that gave me so much. They are the reason I choose to Take Today. They taught me to never take anything for granted - my abilities, friends, and situations. To take risks, stretch out of my comfort zone, and interact with people different than myself. Above all, they taught me to pursue what I love with blind ambition and to never accept “impossible” as reality.
With that being said, cool things are about to happen at Take Today. Stay tuned to see how we’re going to give back to the people that give me the courage to Take Today.