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Closed 03/01/2022
American Occupational Therapy Foundation Inc

Gerry Balasta Occupational Therapy Scholarship

The Gerry Balasta Occupational Therapy Scholarship will provide financial aid to an occupational therapy student enrolled in an OT degree program in New York. This scholarship honors the memory of Gerry who passed away from COVID-19 in April 2020.
raised of US$50,000 target
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Closed on 03/01/2022
RCN 136189382

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Gerry Balasta, OTR/L, was a remarkable early intervention pediatric OT, entrepreneur, film maker and husband who sadly passed away from COVID-19 in April 2020. For over 20 years he worked in New York at a private pediatric practice with specialization on sensory and motor integration and Adult Neuro-Ortho. He recently sold a pediatric entity in New York to his partners, so that he could embark on another clinic with his wife Lea. Longtime NYC OT and PT, Iris Kimberg, a private practice consultant who knew Gerry for 20 years, brought this sad news to our attention and has been a leader in creating this meaningful tribute.

Gerry was also a passionate film maker, founding Inspire Change Films in 2007, and combined his OT background with his film making to enhance his connection to people and their stories. In 2010 he created, directed and produced "The Mountain Thief" which told the story of the people of Patayas, one of the Philippines largest dumpsite towns. Gerry masterfully told the story of the people of the town who live off the mountains of trash in dumpsite towns but manage to retain their dignity and thankfulness for life. The film had a hugely successful film festival run, won the Special Jury Prize at the San Francisco International Asian-American Film Festival, The Prix Du Public at CCIFF, France and the George C. Lin Emerging Filmmaker Award in Washington DC.

Gerry's life was dedicated to helping people by connecting to people. Now we seek to honor his legacy by creating a scholarship that will help the next class of occupational therapists as they work towards their degrees. With both demand for OT services and the costs of OT education rising, we need to help those who are preparing for a career in service to others.

Please make a gift to support Gerry's scholarship. Your generosity will enable us to make the first scholarship award in the spring of 2021. Thank you.

About the charity

AOTF is the nation's leading non-profit investing in new occupational therapy research and the future OT research workforce. Through our grants, awards, scholarships and events we are building vital evidence for practice and strengthening occupational therapy to improve the delivery of quality care.

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