Article Written by:
Massage Program Coordinator
Minnesota School of Business, Brooklyn Center Campus
Teaching excellence and competence in any field is best paired with community involvement. Not only does this expose students to real-life experience, but also it builds a sense of accomplishment and cultural harmony. Students often have limited resources to truly contribute to any cause. When schools foster opportunities for their students to play a role in the community, they offer an educational experience that cannot be found in the classroom alone. They offer pride and self-worth. In turn, the community as a whole benefits from the students’ efforts. This is why Globe University/Minnesota School of Business strives to be an active part of the community.
One program at this prominent college that seeks variety in their community involvement is Massage Therapy. Since massage therapy elicits countless physical and physiological benefits, these students are able to help out in an extraordinary way. Field trips and Service Learning are a regular part of the curriculum, and they focus on introducing the students to clients who would best benefit from the specific skill of each class. One favorite field trip at the Brooklyn Center campus is the Special Populations unit visit to the Aliveness Project.
The Aliveness Project is a Minneapolis-based center providing services and support for individuals living with HIV/AIDS. The center requires 550 volunteer hours each week. The programs offered here are designed to help members improve their quality of life through self-empowerment. Of its many services, the Aliveness Project offers complementary care for their clients, which includes acupuncture, chiropractics, and massage therapy.
Our Brooklyn Center Campus students love visiting the Aliveness Project because they know their skills provide more than just a luxury for their clients. Students often don’t know anyone living with HIV/AIDS and therefore don’t understand the impacts this disease has on a person’s life. Working closely with the members is eye-opening and heart-warming. It is a rare opportunity for students to truly grasp and share the power of human touch. The experience is so significant that students are just as grateful to the Aliveness Project as the staff and members are to the students.
Minnesota School of Business has been working with the Aliveness Project for over three years, and it is one place the students never forget. When asked to reflect on this field trip, two students wrote:
“I remember that I had a small amount of trepidation, but when I looked into their eyes asking to be treated with love and kindness, all fear immediately disappeared. They were the most appreciative clients I have ever worked with.” –Tina Johnson, Summer 05
“Gratefulness. Appreciation. Welcoming. These are the words I would use to describe our visit to the Aliveness Project during Fall Quarter 07.
- Gratefulness from the clients; allowing us the opportunity to provide much-needed human contact for healing.
- Gratefulness from the massage students; allowing us the opportunity to share our gifts & training.
- Appreciation from the staff who knows what their clients go through and what a commodity is found in the gift of touch.
- Appreciation from the massage students for the work done by the staff to coordinate the field trip which gives life experience to the students.
Welcoming from the Aliveness Project to return and provide additional massages.
- Welcoming from the massage students who are willing to open themselves to a community in need.” -Olaf Brown, Fall 07.
Since the center is equipped to offer complementary treatments, the students are also able to view the progression of their clients’ responses to the therapies. Seeing how massage positively affects the members sheds new light on the possibilities of a career in massage therapy. As a result, the students gain a new perspective on their own lives.
Overall, the Aliveness Project exemplifies community and selflessness. There is no classroom substitute for the impact this visit has on our students. We thank the Aliveness Project for receiving our students and our school with open arms quarter after quarter and look forward to returning again and again.