After realizing that traditional PT was not as efficient as it could have been for Victoria, Jacqueline and Larry Arlen took their daughter to the Project Walk Headquarters in San Diego. During their three month stay they could see that Victoria was making progress in her recovery, but they knew that they could not stay forever. Jacqueline understood that Victoria was going to need to keep going with this training in order to recover, but also realized that there are a number of people on the east coast who would benefit from this type of activity based recovery training.
Prior to opening the doors of their own facility, Jacqueline was tasked with hiring trainers. She knew that not just any employee would do. She was looking for people with large hearts; people with a desire to make a difference in the world. John, Daniele, and Stephanie were chosen to help Jacqueline’s vision take flight. The three trainers packed their bags and headed west to San Diego for a month’s worth of education that included class room training, detailed exams, practical exams, and countless hours of real-life, hands-on training.
The three trainers returned home just in time to get to work in the new facility. No, not with training clients, but with painting, debris removal, and even table building. It was all hands on deck as the whole team worked diligently to get the facility ready for their grand opening. After a few weeks’ worth of “dirty work” the facility was almost ready for sharing with the world. With a few final touches and a snowy grand opening in January 2015, clients were able to begin training and become a part of our Project Walk Boston family.
A little over a year later, the staff had doubled in size. Clients continued to come not just from the east coast, but from all over the world. Locally, Project Walk Boston has established thriving relationships with Spaulding Hospital, Northeast Rehabilitation, and many other local physical therapy facilities. Clients have come in from as far as India, Singapore, and Ireland to be trained by the best.
Also in 2016, Project Walk Boston established an amazing relationship with the University of Massachusetts Lowell and their Exercise Science program. Having had two trainers go through the exercise science program, it was an easy decision to create a Senior Practicum site at Project Walk Boston. Shortly after, it became the most sought-after site that the program had to offer. The Senior Practicum program has paid its dividends for both Project Walk and the students, as they get to have some hands on time with some clients, and two of them have been hired on full time after their the completion of their senior year.
Victoria was able to continue her training at the facility that her mother runs. She trained hard and she trained often. She became a beacon of hope to other clients and her other followers throughout the social media world. Her hard work would soon pay off as she progressed past every obstacle that was thrown her way. She was able to take her first unassisted steps, and then eventually learn to walk again. She really started to find her way. She accepted a job working with ESPN, and later was featured on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, making it to the semi-finals. It was quite a whirlwind.
Since its opening, Project Walk has been able to add much needed equipment to aid with recovery. The biggest equipment acquisition was the G-EO Revolution by REHA Technology. This state of the art robotic assisted gait training machine has changed the way our staff can gait train with clients. The machine has also allowed us to have more of an impact with our pediatric clients, helped us to establish our pediatric program, and even lead us to change part of the facility to a more child-friendly training space.
Starting fresh in 2018, Project Walk Boston now has 8 trainers, nearly 20 consistent pediatric clients, and over 90 adult clients that train throughout the month. Thanks to hard work and dedication by the entire staff, Project Walk Boston is now recognized throughout the world. They have been featured in newspapers, magazines, and national television. The training staff members continue to go above and beyond for all of their clients, and strive to reinforce the family feeling that was already present from the first time the doors were opened.