$100,000 Donation Boosts Valparaiso University Partnership with Opportunity Enterprises

Opportunity Enterprises Check

A $100,000 gift by Robert Reisinger to Opportunity Enterprises (OE) will help Valparaiso University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions and OE prepare students to fill much-needed roles in the field of occupational therapy (OT). Students will be able to fulfill their required clinical hours, while the communities and program participants at OE will receive enhanced care through their time with the students. The current partnership began in 2023 and will continue through at least 2026. 

“The partnership between Valpo’s OTD program and OE provides the students a platform to see how community-based mental health practice is transformative, empowering individuals and our community through engagement in meaningful occupations,” said Sara Story, ED.D., OTR/L, program director for occupational therapy at Valparaiso University. “Collaborative efforts such as this truly embody the grassroots of occupational therapy. Clinical partners like OE are a blessing because they see the value of our profession and are right beside us, helping equip the next generation of occupational therapists.” 

Valparaiso University’s occupational therapy program prepares students to enhance the quality of life for people of all ages and backgrounds by finding ways to help them engage in meaningful occupations. Opportunity Enterprises is a non-profit organization that strives to help individuals with developmental disabilities reach their fullest potential. 

A passionate advocate of the benefit of OT, Reisinger’s daughter, Marcie, has been a long time OE client. The donation came directly because of the launch of the OT program at Valpo, with Reisinger recognizing the immense opportunity for mutual benefit between the University, OE, and their clients. 

“Bob absolutely is thrilled that this partnership came together,” Jane Kobak, associate director of major giving, said. “This partnership matching Bob’s passion took some time to put together, but he’s been steadfast in his wish to support OE in this manner. We’re absolutely thrilled, and we know he is too.” 

The donated money will fund the hiring of a part-time occupational therapist who will serve as a mentor and clinical educator for Valpo’s OTD students. Valpo students have been practicing their one-on-one interview skills to get to know the community members at OE, and will be able to move on to applying clinical skills with individuals and small groups to find out how OT can meet their needs.

“We have a variety of programs that they can engage with; we have serve children, adults, teenagers, and retired adults, just a wide variety of individuals,” said Valerie Thill, chief programs officer for OE. “Our hope is to be able to offer that picture to the OT students, showing them what other opportunities are out there beyond the typical school-aged children and hospital therapy.”

OE will continue to seek additional funding to continue the part-time OT position. To learn more about how occupational therapy at Valparaiso University will benefit the community and region, click here, or visit the program website here. To learn more about Opportunity Enterprises and their programs and services, visit their website at oppent.org.