Professor travels the world to help those in need
Los Angeles, Thailand, the Gulf Coast, Mexico, and Canada have all been travel destinations for Professor Vicky Davidson, a physical therapist who teaches in OCCC’s physical therapist assistant program.
Davidson goes to work, not play.
Davidson has been a volunteer at numerous work sites for Habitat for Humanity, an organization that builds homes for less fortunate families in the U.S. and in other parts of the world.
Davidson said she was motivated to participate in these trips after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005.
“I had been to New Orleans many times, since my daughter and niece attended Tulane University,” she said.
“Seeing the condition of the city after Hurricane Katrina really made me want to do something for that community.”
To begin with, she tried to find a local church or group that would be effective in New Orleans. Eventually she found a program that was working through Habitat for Humanity.
After going on her first trip, Davidson said, she felt great.
Some time later she vacationed in Cozumel, Mexico, with some friends.
“The first few days of lying on the beach were great, but after that it just got boring,” Davidson said.
“These trips (the community service trips) don’t get boring, because you are always working. Whether it’s loading 80-pound bags of concrete or bricking a house, you are always busy.”
Davidson is no stranger to long-distance trips.
“I flew to Thailand by myself, which was a 40-hour flight. Then I slept eight hours in the airport.
“Another time I flew to Canada, arrived at midnight, rented a car and drove four and a half hours alone.”
Although Davidson is an adventurous person, she is not afraid to admit power tools make her nervous.
“In New Orleans, there were people shooting nail guns down on a porch while people were walking underneath,” she said.
“That really made me anxious.”
These trips have changed the way she perceives the world, Davidson said, and have added to the way she teaches her classes.
“Our students help at a pro bono (free) clinic where they spend two nights in their last semester,” she said.
“They also do a service learning project.”
When Davidson takes trips during the school year, she said, she uses her personal leave days.
She said she even gives up part of her three-month summer break to do volunteer work.