A Brief Introduction: Keely O'Dell

Hello Superkids Followers,

What an amazing and committed group of people to be blogging to. It really is an honor to be a part of this.  I have officially been onboard with Superkids since early spring.  And we decided it was high time that you all got to know me, so that I can start to get to know you.  So here we go: 

Who am I:  My name is Keely O’Dell (though I am getting married in a few months, so that last name is going to change!)
Me and the fiancĂ© (and our pup Daisy)

Where did I come from: (Very good question!) I grew up in a small town in Colorado, just east of Denver. Since moving form Colorado in 2006, I have lived in 5 countries, 5 U.S. states, and 16 different cities.  I now live in Pittsburgh, PA… and absolutely love it. My parents still live in Colorado (they are amazing) and I have three awesome brothers.
My crazy (fun) family
What have I learned (officially): I graduated with my doctorate in physical therapy from Duke University in 2009.  I then did a one-year pediatric PT residency in Little Rock Arkansas.  I recently finished a Masters degree from the University of Pittsburgh in Applied Developmental Psychology—the emphasis of that degree was in understanding how context (specifically institutionalization) affects child development.  

How did I get here:  I first learned about Superkids during my last semester of PT school. Right after graduation, a classmate and I spent 8 weeks in Ethiopia.  In this experience, I found my niche. Working with children and caregivers in this setting just felt like what I was made for. Needless to say, I caught the bug.  I have worked with Superkids in Costa Rica and Colombia multiple times since.  You can check out my blog for the many adventures of those early Superkids experiences. And in April of this year, I got to go with the Superkids team on my first trip to China!
Besitos from one of my all time favorites in Colombia!!
What have I learned (unofficially): I have learned about the power of connection. Humans are one of the most helpless mammals at birth… and they have the most amazing developmental potential.  The only way this formula works, the only way the potential is reached, is through relationships—being cared for by loving, responsive, consistent, protective caregivers.  Someone who delights in them.  We are born ready to form these loving relationships, we are made to form them. This is what kids need to grow and thrive.  And Superkids (and many other amazing organizations) are working to help provide that for children —we are fighting every single day to help children experience it.

What am I doing here: One of my roles is just to be a voice for Superkids around child development.  I am a resource for families throughout the process.  I will talk with you about the developmental information we obtain when we meet children on our trips.  But I can also talk with you about treatment ideas and considerations down the road.  You are going to start seeing more posts from me on the blog too!

I want to get to know you as well!! Comment on the blog. Shoot me an email: keely.superkids@gmail.com or friend me on Facebook.