By Mark Yanai

Reflections and Gratitude

Aloha!

It is 35 degrees in Boston today. One of the milder days lately. Just wanted to put that out there :)!

I’m sitting in my room, looking at pictures and reading my journal. I remember the moment that I fell in love with the thought of this experience. It was a first-year meeting with my co-op advisor. I was interested in looking for a co-op in California, but was told that my closest option was a clinic in Hawaii… The dream of hiking, surfing, and being immersed in Hawaiian culture for six months was permanently etched into my mind.   [one_third]
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And just when I thought I couldn’t get any more excited, I saw Fukuji and Lum’s website, read the higher purpose, mission statement, values, and Mark’s blog… My heart had made its decision.

I remember the night that I landed in Hawaii. The mirror selfie with my first lei, first shaka, and a smile that couldn’t be wiped off my face. A whole lot of life has been lived since that moment. I’m not quite sure how to put all of it into words, so I’m just going to write for a few minutes and list a bunch of things that I loved and were meaningful to me as they come to mind… [/two_third_last]

I loved walking around barefoot everywhere, even getting the occasional ‘local feet’ compliment that boosted my ego and made me feel like I belonged. I loved having the time and space to journal everyday, which had been a goal of mine for years. I loved sitting by the water in Colleen’s backyard in the mornings, watching the sunrise and focusing on my breath. Sitting in the same place some nights and playing guitar under the stars… I loved kayaking to work –somedays a peaceful experience and other days a slightly more exciting/scary but equally awesome and meaningful one. I’ll be lucky if I can ever top that commute…

 

I loved the energy I felt when I walked into work every day. The high-fives, the laughs, the smiles. A whole lot of smiles. The spirit days that pushed me out of my comfort zone and occasionally ended with braids in my hair. I loved that we always seemed to be celebrating something or someone, and that potlucks were such a regular event. Curry Friday’s at work… The mochiko chicken was pretty incredible, but wasn’t nearly as awesome as the smiles, laughs, and ‘food comas’ that came with it.

I loved playing ukulele by the pool during breaks. I loved connecting with patients, learning Hawaiian and Pidgin words from them, hearing their stories, and playing a role in their recovery, no matter how small. I loved that I was able to play basketball every week with a beautiful view and even better company.

 

I loved surfing (a.k.a. lots of paddling around, getting tossed by waves, and occasionally catching one), hiking, learning ukulele, traveling to outer islands, getting to know a lot of really incredible people, and building professional and personal relationships that are far from over… Most of all, I loved that I was able to share this experience with four other awesome students, who added so much value to my life over the last six months.

 

I love highlights, but one of my favorite parts of this experience was that it was so real. I still experienced stress, overwhelm, indecision, frustration, sadness, self-consciousness… I even had one week when I managed to lose my brand-new GoPro, almost sink on my commute to work, and donate my iPhone to the ocean in the process (although I did find this unintentional technology cleanse pretty enjoyable ☺). These were often the days and moments that I learned the most about myself, so I’m grateful for them too.

My time in Hawaii was deeply meaningful to me and has impacted me in many ways that I probably haven’t even realized yet. What I do know is that it helps me remember to slow down, to appreciate where I am and who I’m with in this moment, and to always strive to ‘live aloha’ through compassion, serving others, and spreading positive energy. I felt more comfortable ‘being me’ over these last six months than I have felt in a very long time, which is funny because I stuck out so much. Red hair, inability to tan, and all. I’m not sure exactly what allowed me to do that, but I think it has a lot to do with the aloha and Fukuji and Lum’s culture…

It was a blessing to work for a company with such a strong, positive, and transformative culture and vision. I am so grateful that my path led me here, and grateful for everyone at Fukuji and Lum who showed us co-ops so much love and aloha and welcomed us as a part of the Ohana. I love how you all approach life and physical therapy…

Mahalo for being a part of my journey. A Hui Ho, Hawaii!

Matt

By Mark Yanai

Certified Functional Capacity Evaluator, Nicole Sato, M.O.T.

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Working Hard and Getting Certified

Nicole Sato joined F&L two years ago as the company’s first Occupational Therapist. Her journey has taken her to becoming a certified Functional Capacity Evaluator and the main cog for the Work Conditioning and Hardening Program. Since her arrival, the program has grown steadily and her certification will give her great opportunities to improve it.

In August, we both took a certification class from ErgoScience, a company founded in 1992 that has been a leader in industrial rehabilitation. Their researched based FCE is recognized nationally and internationally as a valid, reliable protocol that standardizes clinical measurement for function. With her knowledge of assessing functional performance, she will be able to improve patients’ ability to return to work, decrease risk of re-injury, and reduce costs for workers compensation insurances.
Our three days together at the class helped us get to know each other better and put together a plan to improve WORC.

Get to know Nicole!

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Where’s your hometown?
I was born and raised on Maui. Maui no ka oi! 

What’s your education background?

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[/one_half_last]I attended the University of Portland for my B.S. in Life Science and fine art minor then Pacific University in Hillsboro Oregon for my master’s in occupational therapy.

What are your specialties and what’s your home clinic?

I work at W.O.R.C. with our work conditioning and hardening (WC/WH) patients. I was first introduced to WC/WH as a student during rotations in Oregon and Maui. I really enjoyed being able to spend a longer amount of time with each patient so I could get to know them. It’s a unique setting that is structured yet allows for creativity suiting my personality well. W.O.R.C.’s open gym allows patients and therapists to interact freely which also makes for a fun and supportive environment. 

How did you get to be an Occupational Therapist?

I participated in an OT inpatient/acute care internship at a very fast paced hospital in Oregon during my senior year in college, but still wasn’t sure if it was something I was called to do. After college I decided to take some time off to work and volunteer at different types of therapy clinics to see if OT or even speech or physical therapy was for me. In the end, I concluded that OT fit my interests and passions best; I liked that OT had a heavy emphasis on mental health and overall holistic yet flexible approach to its definition of what being healthy may look like. I also appreciated that OT utilized a variety of modalities from exercises, to crafts, to everyday activities. There was so much room for creativity. 

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Who has been the biggest influence in your life?

My biggest influences have been my family and friends. I can’t sum up how they have done so in a quick blog post, but they have helped to shape my values and beliefs and have been supportive to me whether or not I appreciated it at the time. I’m very grateful for these relationships. Oh and my dogs, because they love unconditionally! 

What’s your first memory of F&L?

My first memory of F&L was meeting my boss Mark for the first time at W.O.R.C. over the weekend. I had just moved to Oahu and was a little nervous. I was really surprised that he was willing to meet up on his free time. I felt better after he walked in with his dog. I remember thinking he must be okay if he takes his dog with him to meet new employees.

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What do you like about working for F&L?

I appreciate how close and supportive our team is. We laugh a lot and can count on one another. We even willingly spend time with each other outside of work! I also have enjoyed working with patients from Hawaii after being on the mainland for so long. It has been a privilege to be even a small part of peoples’ lives. 

What’s your “why”?

Living the life that God has called me to live is central to who I am and what I do. I am an occupational therapist because I believe that I’ve been created for specific purposes and that others are too.I’ve always wanted people to know that their lives have meaning even when they’re experiencing difficult changes. I want people to feel cared for even if they do not fit society’s norms. I want people to laugh.
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Lastly, I want people to feel that they can do things that are important to them even if they are forced to do those things in a different way. Although I do not always answer this call perfectly, I hope to learn how to do this better every day.

By Mark Yanai

Being Present for the Future

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There are many moments in our lives that mark significant milestones of achievement. It is in these past few months that many of these milestones have presented themselves, leaving strong emotions and memories that will stay with me forever.

My blog posts have slowed in recent months. My life has become filled with travels and milestones like everyone else’s. It began in May when my entire family traveled to California to watch my nephew, Matthew, graduate from Chapman University. A fun week of graduation activities was sprinkled with visits to Disneyland and Universal Studios.

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The trip continued with a flight to Portland and drive to McMinnville where we celebrated my eldest son, Kaleo’s, graduation from Linfield College. After four years of multiple trips to Oregon, this last travel to McMinnville was the most enjoyable and memorable. Watching Kaleo walk up to the podium and receive his diploma was a definite proud father moment.

Being present at both graduations brought on a tremendous sense of pride. As my family sat in the stands and watched each moment, we all felt more connected and we all shared in the accomplishment. During the trip, my wife and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary while my mom celebrated her 80th birthday. It seemed surreal that all of these milestones would occur within a two-week period.

[one_half] Fast forward to this week when one of our employees, Ryan, completed his employment with F&L. Ryan was accepted to Western University in Pomona, California and began graduate school in August to attain his doctoral degree in physical therapy. Ryan was originally a patient with F&L while he was in high school. His experience with us led to a four-year period of volunteering in the summers while at Pacific University. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science, Ryan accepted a job with us as a front office receptionist and PT technician, a role that he’s filled while building his resume for graduate school.

We celebrated Ryan’s last day at work with party and mini-golf tournament at Bay View Golf Course. With over 40 people in attendance, we all got to recognize his contributions to the organization and wish him well in his new adventure. As the F&L family gathered, I felt the same feelings of pride and connection to Ryan and the rest of the group. [/one_half]

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We often tell ourselves that there’s our work family and then there’s our real family. For F&L we strive to change that perception and our Higher Purpose is “to love and grow, as family.” By sharing common values, we want our employees and patients to feel safe and supported, that whatever accomplishment they work toward, it will be through collaboration and love. If we can create that in our small organization, we can share it with the rest of the world.

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By Mark Yanai

Conquering Fear Together

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Conquering Fear, My Ragnar Experience – By Joy Yanai, D.P.T.

It’s been on my bucket list for several years, even after I stopped running religiously. RUN A RAGNAR RELAY has yet to be crossed off. Then, in summer of 2016, the Ragnar Trail Oahu North Shore was announced online. I don’t even trail run, but a friend and I decided to do it and form a team.

We named our team “Gotta Be Crazy” and knew that finding six more crazy people would be easy. None of us were trail runners and we had varying degrees of running backgrounds. We didn’t know what to expect, but we were all willing to spend the night in a tent and take turns running 24 legs around Turtle Bay.

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On Friday, April 21st we showed up at Turtle Bay to set up camp and start our run. As we drove into the parking area, the heavens opened up and the rains came down. And so the next 24 hours began…

[one_half] Going into this relay, the 8 of us all had different fears:

Fear of running in the heat
Fear of running in the dark
Fear of not being prepared
Fear of getting injured
Fear of disappointing teammates
Fear of centipedes in sleeping bags
Fear of using porta potties that 700 other runners are using

What I realized to be true about FEAR is that it’s:

False
Evidence
Appearing
Real

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I didn’t feel as physically prepared as I wanted to be. I could’ve stressed about it, instead I decided to just enjoy each run. I stopped to take pictures; I took videos and sent them to my teammates. I listened to the sounds of the waves, the birds, and the crickets.

During training, I had avoided running a trail at night because I didn’t want to do it alone. When it was my turn to do it at the relay, I was sure that there would be plenty of people running at night to keep me company. NOPE! I did the longest route at night and only saw three people! I turned off my second light and splash through the mud, enjoying being somewhere I had never been before.
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We all rested briefly overnight (except for Talon, he’s a beast). A couple of members would accompany the next runner to the start and welcome the previous runner in. Next priority was making sure the runner who just came in got what they needed to recover.

All of my expectations of this run were smashed. I think our team’s expectations were smashed. The trail we thought would be the easiest was the hardest because of the mud. The beach run with dreaded sand dunes was the easiest because of minimal mud.[/one_half_last]

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We overcame fears. We complained about the rain, the porta potties, the mud. We all stepped up. Fellow co-workers who didn’t run with us loaned us cots and lanterns. One of them even made us all precut tape strips to support our leg muscles. Even patients got involved, painting T-shirts for us and loaning us hi-tech bug repellant.

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As I write this, it is hard to find the right words to describe my teammates. “Family” could replace “Team”. “Friends” could replace “co-workers”. That’s really what we were; friends and family for the weekend, a small part of the bigger F&L Ohana. I appreciate all of them for helping me cross something off of my list. And if you ask any of us if we regret doing it, I’m sure we’ll all say no. We are already planning on next year.

And now I ask you, what’s next to cross off your list? What fears can we conquer together?

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By Mark Yanai

Strategic Planning for 2017

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On April 6-7th, a two-day course was hosted at the Ko’olau Conference Center by Donna Ching, Ph.D. for Strategic Planning and Facilitation. Donna is the founder of the Pacific Center for Collaboration and has held workshops for the past few years after “retiring” from the faculty of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at the University of Hawaii, Manoa.

I attended the course accompanied by Art Lum, co-owner of F&L, in hopes that we could learn new skills and a process in guiding our organization. There were 28 other attendees from different backgrounds including state, research and educational organizations. What we all had in common was a passion to provide for others so that we could create a work environment of safety and collaboration.

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The workshop was outstanding in all aspects. Donna’s passion of teaching collaboration techniques, Appreciative Inquiry, and her unique process model for planning made for an energetic workshop that encouraged participation and learning through experiences. I was often moved by the experiences shared by the other attendees and saw how the skill of sharing our lives through storytelling is a key component of her model. The world is changing and the process model that she teaches is necessary for the leadership of any organization hoping to thrive in it.

At the heart of her process model is Appreciative Inquiry (AI).  According to the Center for Appreciative Inquiry, “AI is a way of being and seeing. It is both a worldview and a process for facilitating positive change in human systems, e.g., organizations, groups, and communities. Its assumption is simple: Every human system has something that works right–things that give it life when it is vital, effective, and successful. AI begins by identifying this positive core and connecting to it in ways the heighten energy, sharpen vision, and inspire action for change.”

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This process of “facilitating positive change” is in alignment with F&L’s values-based organization and is what our company has implemented in creating our policies and procedures. We plan to use what we know about AI and what we’ve gained from the strategic planning course to guide us into becoming a world-class organization.

Besides the actual course presentation, I was very impressed by Ko’olau’s Ballroom and Conference Center. The room was located in Honey’s restaurant and the food was outstanding. The room was perfect for the size of the group and there was lots of free parking. The location is close to our Windward offices and is the perfect setting with the Ko’olau mountain range as a backdrop.

I look forward to taking more workshops from Donna and hope to take her Facilitation Skills class in the later part of the year. If you are a leader of your organization, I would highly recommend taking one of her workshops.[/one_half_last]

 

 

By Mark Yanai

Justin S: A Hui Hou

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In this week’s blog, Justin reflects on his new experiences at F&L while living and learning about the Hawaiian culture.

Reflections of a Co-Op

by Justin S.

To say I enjoyed my 6 months in Hawaii would be an understatement. I worked with amazing patients and coworkers, learned more than I could have ever expected, and thoroughly enjoyed living in the most beautiful place I have ever seen.
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I felt like a valuable part of a team while working at Fukuji & Lum. Even though it was my first time working in a physical therapy setting, I was trusted and given many responsibilities. It was an incredibly welcoming place to work. While searching for a co-op, the biggest thing I took from the Fukuji & Lum website was being part of their ohana. Family day, potlucks, and the Christmas party were great ways to get to know everybody. I think Art and I combined for about 10 plates of crab legs. Rachel happily invited the co-ops to her house for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was such a kind gesture and we had a very fun time! This is just one example, but everybody that I worked with went out of their way to make sure my experience was fun and educational.

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The patients I worked with were fantastic. They taught me a lot about life in Hawaii, looked to me for help with exercises, and were great to talk story with. I will always remember these relationships that helped make my experience so great. I was so fortunate to be presented with t-shirts, poke bowls, and homemade foods from these great people.
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There were many firsts for me in Hawaii. I completed my first triathlon in September. It was a lot of fun and I couldn’t have done it without the swimming help from my coworkers at the pool. I had my first poke bowl my first day on Oahu, and it became a staple in my diet ever since. When working in Kailua, I would always pop over to Foodland for lunch to grab a spicy ahi bowl. I still crave them every day. I surfed for the first time in Waikiki about a week into my stay. Thereafter, I practiced when I could and steadily improved over the 6 months. I’m no Kelly Slater, but I have a lot of fun trying.
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Everyone always asked if the four co-ops knew each other before arriving in Hawaii. We met up for dinner once, but honestly had no clue who the other three were. Within a week, we bought a car together and were hanging out at the beach and watching Hawaii Five-O every day. Every weekend was filled with fun trips to town, Hawaii Kai, or the North Shore. It made all of us happy to hear that we were the closest group of co-ops that has come through. Ashley, Colby, Leila and I will always have oodles of awesome memories together that we will never forget. Even with our busy schedules, we are still able to see each other occasionally, most recently with a trip to Pokeworks, Boston’s attempt at replicating the divine Hawaiian dish. It wasn’t as good as the ones made in Hawaii, and it was really cold outside, but we still had fun.
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I will always be grateful for this experience, which has undoubtedly been the best 6 months of my life. Mahalo nui loa to everyone who made this experience so awesome.

 

A hui hou,

Justin

By Mark Yanai

Appreciating the Past and Embracing the Future

Reflections of the Co-Op Program

It has been ten years since we began our relationship with Northeastern University‘s Physical Therapy Department and introduced the Cooperative Program at F&L. Looking back at our journey with this exceptional educational partnership has allowed me to recognize how much our relationship with NEU has grown in step with our company’s growth.

In 2007, we took in our first two NEU students, Brittany Giles and Renee Noel. It was a learning experience for all of us, as expectations of our roles were undefined. But as the years passed on, we grew in diligently and developed a program that has now has a history of 32 students over the past ten years.

Personally, I’ve gained so much appreciation for the program and our growing relationship with NEU. I’ve interviewed and hired all of the students that have come into the program and continue to remain in contact with each of them. My recent trip to Boston was a great way to reconnect with some of them and foster new relationships with the staff that sends them our way.

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The Co-Op program has provided the students a great way to experience the culture of our island and learn first hand what it’s like to work for a Values-Based Organization. Physical therapy is a profession that requires a high level of emotional intelligence and compassion and we hope that when the students leave, they’ve improved these qualities in themselves.

With that reflection, we look back at one of our students, Colby, who completed his stay with us last fall. Colby shares his experience working and living in Hawaii and compares it to his life back at school in Boston. We also look to the present and future with the introduction of Dan, one of the newest co-ops this current semester. Dan has been here for a couple of months now and tells us a little about himself and why he chose to do his Co-op in Hawaii.

Colby: The Best Six Months of my HI Life

[one_half] It’s been a little over a month since I’ve left the beautiful island of Oahu and I can one hundred percent say I miss it.  Without a doubt I spent the best and happiest six months of my life in Hawaii.  As I write this, my headphones are playing Island 93.1 Da Paina.  After being back in the cold, treacherous, concrete jungle of Boston I’ve been able to narrow down what it is about Hawaii that I especially miss.  And the answer is simple: everything.  Here’s a little look at my Monday-Friday Schedule… and the one that I can’t wait to get back to. [/one_half]
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Monday

  • Class from 8:00AM-5:30PM.  I have frequent breaks but am studying Gross Anatomy in the library during those breaks.  After 5:30PM I will usually do more homework in the library for Gross Anatomy until about 8PM then grab dinner.  Afterwards, I will finish my week’s assignments and go home.
  • What I would like to be doing:
    • Going to work, seeing all the awesome patients in the pool in the morning.  Going up to WORC or to LA in the afternoon and learn something new every single day.  After, I’d even have the option of grabbing dinner at Kim Chee 1!  Every lunch has to be a poke bowl of course, maybe spicy kine, maybe wasabi mayo kine, but definitely a poke bowl.

Tuesday

  • Tuesdays are my relaxation days; I only have one class: Healthcare Research.  But as usual, I have 3 other classes and have to continue studying for those classes too afterwards.
  • What I would like to be doing:
    • This is my half day, working 7:30-12:30.  After work I will usually take a drive to Sandy Beach and body surf, body board or take some Clark Little-esque pictures.  Some sort of injury, big or small, will occur at some point during the escapades.

Wednesday & Thursday

  • I have my Gross Anatomy lecture today and cadaver/palpation lab.  In cadaver lab I look at dead people and learn the internal anatomy including organs, muscles, arteries, bones, veins, nerves and everything else.  Palpation lab is learning how to identify all the muscles and bony landmarks of the body on a living person.
  • What I would like to be doing:
    • See Monday or Tuesday

Friday

  • I have my Tuesday class again with recitation after.  After I will probably head to the library and in the evening I will finally be able to unwind before the weekend when I have to learn everything I accomplished during the week.
  • What I would like to be doing:
    • Literally anything else, I miss you Hawai’i and all of the wonderful people!

Mahalo nui loa to my Fukuji & Lum Family.  A hui hou!
As many may know, I enjoy taking pictures… here are a few of my favorites!

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We are so appreciative of Colby for sharing his experience with us as well as some of his favorites photos of the islands. As Colby transitions back to Boston life, Dan is here to soak up the sun and gain some PT knowledge “Hawaiian Style”!

Let’s Meet Dan!

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What school did you attend and what’s your current college?
The University of New England in Biddeford, Maine. After receiving a bachelors degree in exercise science, I was accepted into the DPT program at Northeastern University where I am currently studying.

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What drew you to physical therapy?
In high school I played soccer and lacrosse where I accumulated numerous injuries which first allowed me to see the patient side of physical therapy. When I started at UNE, I was not set on physical therapy; however the classes, faculty, and internship experience I underwent quickly showed me this was the work field I desired. The feeling of helping patients achieve their goals and helping them return to a high quality of life drives me to become a PT.
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Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
During my undergrad, I was fortunate enough to spend a semester internship at an out-patient orthopedic clinic. I immediately gravitated to this environment as it provides a laid-back, friendly atmosphere of rehabilitation.

What has been your experience like so far?
The atmosphere at Fukuji & Lum along with their therapist’s has been everything I expected and hoped. When arriving at either the W.O.R.C or the pool (the two clinics I work at) you are immediately greeted by the friendly staff, which creates a fun, engaging atmosphere allowing for a more successful treatment session.[/one_half]

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What is on your to do list while here?
I tried to limit the list of things to do before arriving at Hawaii as I wanted to talk to therapists and patients to discover the best activities to try from those who live on the island. I am a big hiker and avid scuba diver, but I also wanted to try new things such as surfing.

What is your favorite thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?
POKE BOWLS!!!!!!

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

I want to be a therapist that sees patients for the individuals that they are, one who engages and develops lasting relationships with patients that show I care about their recovery and is glad to see them.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?
This is an impossible question for me as I have been greatly influenced by so many wonderful people. I expect by the end of these six months there will be several more people who I can add to this list. My family is one influence that has always pushed me to discover new experiences and continue along my dream of becoming a physical therapist.

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By Mark Yanai

Introducing Justin

Our Northeastern Co-ops have been with our organization since July, working diligently in our clinics while supporting our therapists in treating our patients. Since being exposed to the “island-style” life, they have been going on different adventures every weekend and are really making the most of their stay here. Of the four Co-ops this fall semester, we have one more student to introduce. Let’s meet Justin and find out why he wants to become a physical therapist, because we know he’ll make a great one in the near future!

Meet Justin
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What school did you attend in high school and what’s your current college?
I went to The Morgan School in Clinton, CT. I currently go to Northeastern University in Boston, MA.

What drew you to PT?
I’ve always wanted to have a career that combined my love of sports with helping other people. PT is also a job where there is plenty of room for progression. Treatment techniques are always evolving, which gives us something to look forward to. [/two_third_last]

Why did you want to do your coop in Hawaii?
I want to travel to every part of the world and this is just the first step. I’ve been on one Caribbean cruise but that is the farthest I had been from home. Experiencing different ways of life is a great opportunity and I couldn’t pass it up. The aquatic program also drew my interest to Fukuji & Lum. I have already seen first hand the benefits of being in the pool compared to dry land.

What is the strangest thing you have eaten since arriving?
I wouldn’t call them strange, but I’ve had many poke bowls and musubis already. I’d eat a poke bowl every day if I could.

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What is on your to do list while here?
I want to learn a lot- about both physical therapy and Hawaiian culture. I also would like to spend as much time at the beach as possible and do all the best hikes the island has to offer.

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What are your outside interests?
I like to watch and play many different sports. I’m a huge Boston sports fan- Patriots, Celtics, and Red Sox all the way! I enjoy playing basketball and ultimate frisbee and recently got into triathlons. [/one_half]

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What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
I hope to be a successful and effective therapist. The dream job would be working for a professional sports team. I’m also interested in owning my own place someday. I want to provide all types of alternative treatments that may not be available at other physical therapy places. Incorporating physical therapists, athletic trainers, and nutritionists into one team-oriented area seems like the best environment for maximizing the body’s potential. 

Who is your greatest influence in your life?
Everyone we meet somehow becomes an influence in our lives, so it would be impossible to choose one. My parents have to be at the top of the list for how hard they work and how much they push me to be my best. I’ve had lots of great teachers and friends that keep me on the right track and I’m thankful for all of them.

By Mark Yanai

Introducing Leila

From Boston to Hawaii

5,027 miles. That’s how far our Northeastern University students travel from Boston to Hawaii to be a part of our ohana for the next six months. They put a pause on their school life and travel all this way, not knowing what is in store for them here in the islands. Four of them arrived for the fall semester, all with big smiles and feelings of excitement and adventure. We’ve already introduced two of them, Colby and Ashley, who work at our Kokokahi sites in Kaneohe. We have another student, Leila who works there as well and is enjoying working with patients at the pool and W.O.R.C. 

Let’s meet Leila!

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What school did you attend in high school and what’s your current college?
I attended Middlebury Union High School in Middlebury, VT. I am currently a student at Northeastern University in Boston, MA.

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What drew you to physical therapy?
Both my parents are doctors, so I have always been drawn to the medical field. I became interested in physical therapy when I started seeing physical therapists in middle school and high school due to sports injuries. The therapists were always able to help me recover so that I could get back to doing what I loved to do. I want to be able to do the same for other people. [/one_half]

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Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
I chose to come to Hawaii because I love to travel. I have always wanted to come to Hawaii and now seemed like the perfect time to go. I was also really interested in the aquatic physical therapy program at Fukuji and Lum, especially because I heard the pool was outside.

What has been your experience like so far? 

My experience here has been beyond amazing. The people of Hawaii have been so kind, welcoming and helpful. I love the island not only because it is so beautiful, but also because there are so many different things to do. I am never bored here! I love working at Fukuji and Lum because I am learning so much everyday in an extremely positive environment.

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What is on your to do list while here?
I have so many things I want to do while I am here. I want to hike Stairway to Heaven and the Pillboxes at sunrise, swim with dolphins and eat endless acai and pitaya bowls. It’s so hard to narrow it down because the opportunities here are endless.  I also really want to learn how to hula dance!

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?
Spam musubi and spam in general. My favorite foods I have had since coming here are acai and pitaya bowls. I’m obsessed with them![/two_third_last]

What are your outside interests? 

I absolutely love to dance. It is my favorite thing to do. I also like to hike, swim, and do yoga. I love to spend time with my friends and family as well. I am happiest when I am outside.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
I hope to be a caring, supportive therapist that helps patients meets their goals. I am keeping my mind open to what exactly I want to do later on in my physical therapy career, but I am currently leaning towards aquatic therapy for both adults and children.

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Who is your greatest influence in your life?
My family has been my greatest influence in my life. They have made me into the person I am today. My family is full of the most loving, supportive and kindest people I know and I aspire to be like them in everything I do.

By Mark Yanai

Introducing Ashley

Embracing Change is one of F&L’s core values that we look for in each of our employees. Every six months we get a new set of students from Northeastern University and our entire organization embraces their presence and the responsibility to care for them. This fall semester we have four new students including Colby, which I wrote about in my last blog.

Since my first Co-op blog, I’ve always used the same format when questioning the students about themselves. In trying to keep things fresh and evolving, I gave each of the Co-ops the freedom to write whatever they wanted in introducing themselves as employees of F&L. Today, we get to meet Ashley. [one_third]

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Deciding to spend my first co-op in Hawaii is probably one of the better decisions I have made. From the first time I spotted the Hawaiian site for my Co-op I knew I wanted to apply to Fukuji & Lum. However, never in a million years did I think I would actually get the honor of working with such intelligent and caring people. Being a physical therapy major, there isn’t much time to travel during the six years that I am I student. I am truly lucky to have been given the chance to be able to move to Hawaii and immerse myself in its culture for six months. [/two_third_last]

Working at Fukuji & Lum has given me opportunities that I never imagined were possible. From getting grastoned to actually taking patients through their exercise programs, I have gained so much experience that will help me become a better therapist in the future. Every day I learn something new. The people I get to work with are the best in their field, always making sure they explain things to me and that I understand, and constantly improving themselves as well.

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Having the opportunity to work not only in a clinic, but a pool and front office, also gives me a chance to learn so many different aspects of therapy. Each job that I have is different and teaches me something new.

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Working in the office has taught me a lot about the paperwork aspect of therapy. Before this experience, I never knew how complicated insurance was and I have gained a lot of respect for the people who do those jobs. Being in the pool was something that made me very excited to work here. The pool is a very unique setting for therapy and one I always found fascinating. While in the pool I have learned an alternative to land therapy and it has taught me to think out of the box when it comes to coming up with helpful exercises.

So far two months (one-third) of my Hawaiian adventure has gone by and I couldn’t be more shocked. It’s hard to believe I have already spent so long in this incredible place, at a job that makes me excited to wake up every morning. It also scares me that in a few short months I’ll be heading back to freezing cold Boston in the middle of January! At least I’ll have a nice tan… I am so thankful for this experience and can not wait to use all I learned and all I will learn at Fukuji & Lum as a physical therapist one day! [/two_third]

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