Sharon Pohl has 32 years of experience as a physical therapist working with children with disabilities, so when she retired in July, she was seeking a volunteer experience where she could use that invaluable background. Speaking of her years with Montgomery County Public Schools and other organizations, she says, “It was extremely rewarding, in a sense a ‘calling’ to help children achieve their gross motor milestones while working together with their families and the extended community of resources available to them.”
In high school and college, Ms. Pohl worked at a camp that integrated campers with disabilities into the program. She continued working with this community as a Community Living Supervisor for the ARC of Montgomery County and with other organizations. Her experience working with children with neurological disabilities prompted her to get her degree in physical therapy from the University of Maryland at Baltimore. While working for Montgomery County Public Schools, her students were mainly students with Down syndrome.
She heard about GiGi’s from a fellow coworker before retiring and thought it would be a “fun and rewarding activity for retirement.” Pohl’s background with children with Down syndrome makes her a valuable asset to our Crawlers and Walkers (ages 2-4) program. The gorgeous Annapolis weather granted the first classes to be held outside.
“While I planned certain goals and activities for each session, I enjoyed watching the children use GiGi’s equipment in their own creative ways. I have enjoyed their participation in our songs, whether through voice or sign language or gestures, and it has been very rewarding to watch them successfully walk across a balance beam, or throw a bean bag into a target, or perform many other activities with smiles,” described Pohl.
GiGi’s families say, “Thank you Sharon for your thoughtful and enthusiastic help. We are so lucky to have such a talented, experienced and high caliber volunteer like you!”
Crawlers and Walkers program focuses on the development of gross and fine motor skills through activities that are hands-on and fun! Social skills and language development are also be addressed, with focus on learning new words, following directions and interacting with peers. This program is for 2-4-year-olds.