Dawn Pieper - Occupational Therapist

“Success builds success” has been my mantra throughout my 30+ year career. As a Pediatric Occupational Therapist, I have walked difficult journey’s with my patients and their families. Life is filled with unexpected land mines. Being in the trenches with my clients and giving them hope is one of my callings. Meaningful occupation is what helps us climb the next hurdle and gives us purpose and direction. My patients have taught me to be a better human being. Becoming a specialist in the area of Autism and Sensory Processing over the past 15 years has taught me, through trusting relationships, individuals with a different neurology can live fulfilling, purpose driven lives and succeed beyond our expectations. Through suffering and loss in my own life, I have learned perseverance through gratefulness, hope and grace. One of my hero’s sums it up. 

“The measure of a life, after all, is not its duration, but its donation.” Corrie ten Boom

What am I looking forward to in my new position? 

As an Occupational Therapist at STAR Academy at Lakeland Union High School, I’m looking forward to helping my students succeed. I’m looking forward to helping them transition into adulthood with vocational skills, training, a sense of ownership in their own daily lives. I desire to impart a vibrancy of resiliency and hope. STAR Academy has a unique approach, with incredible community support, leadership, and an extraordinary staff. I’m proud to be part of this organization. 

“If I fail, I try again, and again, and again. If YOU fail, are you going to try again? The human spirit can handle much worse than we realize. It matters HOW you are going to FINISH. Are you going to finish strong?”

Nick Vujicic 


Traveling is one of my passions. My husband is a talented woodworker and retired engineer who built our tear drop camper that we traveled 16,000 miles and 22 States in three months this past winter. We also spent a month in Italy after retirement last summer. Throughout these journey’s I blogged. My three children are a treasured gift.  Even though they are “grown and gone” our family enjoys a special closeness. Running two half marathons, after age 50, and earning my black belt taught me perseverance and hard work is required to succeed. Our minds and bodies can be changed! I am a lifetime learner, love paddle boarding, hiking, walking and quiet moments on the lake.  Faith is central to everything I do, desiring to spread love, hope and joy wherever I go. 

“Each one of us is God's special work of art. Through us, He teaches and inspires, delights and encourages, informs and uplifts all those who view our lives.” 

Joni Earickson Tada