Susan Flynn, ’80, came to Bridgewater State for a great education. She graduated full of inspiration and a desire for a rewarding career changing the lives of others.
Flynn found her home as part of Bridgewater’s Children’s Physical Developmental Clinic, an innovative program through which volunteer student clinicians help children with disabilities improve their physical, motor, aquatic and social skills.
She was one of those student clinicians during her time at Bridgewater, and the program made such an impression on her that Flynn has recreated it at three universities across the eastern United States.
For her, it’s all about the people she is helping.
“I probably need them more than they need me,” Flynn said. “They give me so much enjoyment and satisfaction and I feel like I’m making a difference.”
She credits Bridgewater, and especially Dr. Joseph Huber, with sparking a career that also includes jobs teaching in K-12 schools.
“It gave me the opportunity to do what I love,” said Flynn, now an instructor at the College of Charleston and director of FitCatZ, a CPDC-based program she developed.
She previously launched and ran for about 10 years a similar clinic at the University of Toledo, and then started one at Purdue University. She began FitCatZ in 2014.
Huber, founder and longtime CPDC program director, now retired, saw Flynn’s passion and drive back when she was a Bridgewater student. She became a CPDC group leader, a position that required her to help run the program and guide fellow student volunteers.
“I always dreamed I would have students like her,” Huber said. “She’s made a mark for herself that I think represents the heart of what the Bridgewater program is all about.”
And she’s not alone. Flynn is one of several alumni who have started programs based on CPDC. Others work at similar programs.
Flynn graduated with a degree in health and physical education, as well as the belief that all children, no matter their abilities, need to be confident movers. Thanks to professors like Huber she knows how to help them.
She still relies on her Bridgewater education and the intangibles she learned as a Bear. But, now she’s the mentor, and generations of college students have undoubtedly been inspired by her and the programs she started.
“It’s always important to give back to the community,” Flynn said.
She had advice for today’s BSU students hoping to find their own dreams: “Look at every experience in the sense that you are going to gain more from it than you ever thought you would.”
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