It’s extremely rare to be both a “newbie” and a “seasoned veteran,” but that’s reality in the case of Burnley Dluhosh. She’s seen Boyer Children's Clinic from more lenses than most, as both a young adult and working professional, as well as through a variety of roles within the organization. But one thing has remained constant: her love of Boyer, and the impact it makes on the lives of children and families we serve.
Burnley grew up in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, and first learned about Boyer through her best friend’s mother, who was employed as a speech-language pathologist. She and her friend would visit the clinic as high schoolers, and Burnley was always stuck by what a positive, happy place Boyer was. She became interested in Occupational Therapy in college – majoring in Community Health – and decided that Boyer would be a perfect place to volunteer, as it aligned with her passion for early intervention. She volunteered twice per week in the classroom, and found it to be a great fit. “I loved working with kids in the classroom and the focus being on play.”
Once she graduated from college, Burnley took some time to travel in early 2010. Right before she was set to return in May, she received an email from Denise Swanson, Boyer’s education coordinator, asking if she’d be interested in a teacher’s aide position. Burnley jumped at the opportunity. “I had the chance to work alongside every teacher, and it was a great crash course in learning everyone’s different styles and methods. I was also exposed to a variety of therapies, including speech, occupational, physical therapy.”
Burnley left Boyer in 2011 and enrolled in the Occupational Therapy graduate program at University of Puget Sound the following year. There she gained experience in a variety of areas during her clinical field work, including outpatient pediatrics, time working in Valley Medical Center’s NICU, and working with adults in a skilled nursing facility. But Boyer had her heart, and it was a long-held personal and career goal to ultimately return as an Occupational Therapist. And in October 2015, she realized that goal.
“I can’t believe I’m a year out of school and literally in my dream job,” Burnley enthusiastically shares. “Boyer is just such a special place. I love the team structure and having everyone working together. It creates a really great caring and problem-solving community. And when you work together like we do, it results in a really supportive system, not just for the team but for the families as well. We’re all pulling in the same direction.”
“Offering Burnley a teacher’s aide position after knowing her as a dedicated and talented volunteer was easy,” shares Denise Swanson. “Encouraging her to go for her dream to be an occupational therapist felt right, and Boyer is now reaping the benefits of all of Burnley’s knowledge and understanding of the agency as she applies her occupational therapy skills to support the children here.”
“Every day is amazing. Seeing a child do something for the first time, and sharing that with their parents, is really incredible. And as a Boyer team member, I know that I get to help build who the child will ultimately be someday. It’s such an honor to be a small part of someone’s big story, and to help give them the tools they need to grow.”
Burnley has certainly come full-circle, and Boyer is lucky to have such a passionate and enthusiastic person on the team – again!