Let Us Introduce You: Lenin Grajo

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O.T. professor loves educating, literature

Lenin Grajo did not know exactly what occupational therapy was when he entered his educational program, but knew that he worked well with children and eventually wanted to become an educator. Born in the Philippines, Grajo moved to the United States in 2009 to pursue his master’s degree at Harvard University. He began working in Austin, Texas in 2010 and then later accepted a position with Saint Louis University’s Occupational Therapy Program.

“The idea of working at a Jesuit institution resonated with me and I immediately knew I loved SLU’s campus,” Grajo said.

Grajo is currently conducting research on occupational therapy’s role in helping children with reading difficulties.  His current research is focused on finding ways to promote participation and engagement in reading and writing, which stems from his own love of literature and education.

Last month Grajo helped facilitate a literacy project as part of the Occupational Therapy Global Day of Service, a day when occupational therapy practitioners and students are encouraged to promote how their practice can help the health and wellness of the populations they serve. Student volunteers went with Grajo to two St. Louis schools to work on a “Loving to Read and Write” program.

“We really wanted to show children that reading and writing can be fun, engaging and motivating,” he said.

Grajo says his favorite book is “The Alchemist”, which reminds him of his journey from the Philippines to the United States and the road to reaching his ambitions in life.

“My favorite quote [from the book] goes something like ‘the universe will conspire to make your dreams come true’. It reminds me how it felt as though things have been aligning for me, even with coming to SLU. It’s how I know certain things are meant for me.”

Grajo explained that getting involved in the occupational therapy field was something that he was definitely meant to do.

“I really proclaim and breathe the profession. I love it. Now I don’t see myself doing anything else.“

Grajo maintains close ties with his home country. Fortunately his family was unaffected by Typhoon Haiyan, and he expressed gratitude for the positive international response following the disaster.

“In the Phillipines, we have a term that we use for ‘indebtedness’- that wherever you are and whoever you are right now, it is because of the people who have helped you. We are very grateful and I am very happy with how the world is responding.”