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With His Guitar and 3D Printer, OTA Student Making a Difference in the Community

Published: 10/12/2020

In the last year, Justin Borgstede has been busy. He’s working toward his occupational therapy assistant (OTA) degree, was recently elected president of the OTA club on the SCC campus, is active in his church and is working part-time at a skilled nursing facility.

“Since the COVID-19 outbreak, I’ve been working more hours at NHC St. Charles,” he explained. “I have been facilitating FaceTime, Zoom and Skype calls between residents and family members.”

Having previously worked for the IT Department at SCC, Borgstede knows technology pretty well. Those skills have been coming in handy at his job.

“I also implemented a bookings site to automate family video call registration,” he explained. “I’ve been providing as much support to our residents as I can – especially when it comes to training them on how to use personal devices.”

Borgstede hasn't stopped there. He’s also use his artistic and musical skills to help entertain the residents. 

Justin 700

“I have been collaborating with coworkers on content for daily activity packets and reading material for residents,” he said. “I also try to provide regular music entertainment for residents on each hallway.”

From John Denver to Jimmy Buffett, Borgstede often jumps on his guitar and serenades his residents. He often leads non-denominational services at facility as well. His talents don’t end there. He also paints as a hobby, and it brought his love for painting to NHC St. Charles.

“I started a ‘painting collaboration’ with the skilled nursing residents,” he explained. “I've been going door-to-door asking the residents to paint something or suggest things for me to add to the painting.”

It was a hit. Borgstede started with a “springtime” theme, and it started gaining momentum.

“Residents got a kick out of the story the painting was telling,” he said. “It started to turn into a really unique mural. One of the residents was an actual artist, so I let her take the lead. It was wonderful to see residents' talents come alive!”

Justin 2 for web

It’s a wonder the SCC student ever has free time. However, when he does have a moment to himself, he uses it to help other people.

To date, Borgstede has 3D printed and distributed more than 2,000 face mask ear guards to local healthcare facilities. He’s also making heel lifts and inversion/eversion shoe inserts for his physical department at NHC St. Charles. He’s also been making vases and phone stands to sell to residents and staff, with proceeds going to the Alzheimer’s Association. 

 justin phone holders

He admits his class load, workload and extracurricular activities can be a bit overwhelming at times, but he has no plans to slow down anytime soon.

“I hope some of what I am doing brings hope and light to a world filled with fear and anxiety,” Borgstede added. "Everyone can find that unique niche where personal passion overlaps with compassion for others." 

"Justin is a tremendous asset to our program, the college and to the community," said Courtney Barrett, SCC OTA program chair. "The field of occupational therapy will also undoubtedly be as lucky to have him as we are."


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