Posted by Vi Hughes on Sep 10, 2019
This past Tuesday we heard from one of our newest members, Judith Pinto. Judith’s classification is Occupational Therapy and her club sponsor was Jim Peddie.  
Judith told us that she first encountered Rotary about twenty-three years ago when she was working as a community health development worker and she was giving talks to various community groups. Judith said that she originally studied zoology and was hoping to go into genetics, when her father suggested she apply to become an occupational therapist. She was hoping for a rejection letter when she got accepted and her life’s direction changed completely. She said that sometimes life is like that and we just have to find a way to pull ourselves into a field that we never would have considered at first. Judith said that she has always loved music, art and playing with doll houses and miniatures, and now she gets to do it every day.
She now has a private practice as an Occupational Therapist specializing in Psychotherapy and is a certified sand play therapist. She works with children with special needs, learning disabilities and mental health challenges.  Many of these children are non-verbal and the sand play is an opportunity for them to understand their world better and also to let others know what their inner world is like. They get to build a mini version of their inner thoughts using miniature figures of all different kinds in a tray of sand. Judith said that she has shelves and shelves full of all kinds of figures, toy furniture, mini houses and other kinds of objects that they can choose from.  She said that doing this often helps these children with things like recurring nightmares and other issues that they may be having. In the end it helps the children grow into who they are. Judith also gave us some background on the rationale for sand play and said that it is often useful with adults as well.
On a more personal note, Judith told us about her love of animals, in particular birds. She said that she used to keep budgies and that one pair they had actually had a clutch of babies. She now has a twenty-six year old blue and gold Macaw. She said that when they first got it, it did not know how to fly even short distances and would launch itself onto the ground from it’s perch, often breaking off feathers or worse in the process. She and her daughter also have two dogs, a maltese cross and a husky cross.  She said that as a teen she played piano, guitar and ukulele, but now her musical passion is to sing jazz. She first got interested in it while living in Japan where it is very popular. Then a co-worker encouraged her to give it a try. She ended up taking a lot of workshops and has sung in public a few times.
Judith said in closing that she hopes to get into more volunteer work and be able to use some of her talents to help others through Rotary. We would like to thank Judith for her very interesting and entertaining talk and look forward to getting to know her better.