Young Barreirinhas

Degree: Master of Science in Occupational Therapy

College: Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences

Young Barreirinhas grew up surrounded by family and friends in health care professions. But he came from Brazil to pursue an MBA at FIU to grow into a successful businessman. Life apparently had different plans for him.

Years after obtaining his master's, Young had a life-changing experience helping a child with disabilities tie her shoes. This one simple act unlocked a passion to help others reach their full potential. He walked away from his successful construction and exporting companies and picked up the books again to help others through occupational therapy.

While an OT student at FIU, Young devoted his attention to a less traditional population, working as part of a research team studying the impact of leisure activities on the life of incarcerated women. His journey came full circle during his last semester, when he once again helped a child with disabilities tie their shoes, only this time he was fully equipped with the proper knowledge and skills from his studies.

Young – a father of two sons and husband to an FIU OT alumna – will embark on his first OT job at a neurological clinic working with stroke patients and has even taken a second job in pediatrics. A two-time World Master Jiu-Jitsu Champion, he plans to start an organization to teach Jiu-Jitsu to children with special needs and share the message that every child should have the opportunity to engage in all kinds of activities without discrimination.

By Rachel Carpio
Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences

Nominated by Lynne Richard