NRPA Awards $4,000 in Microgrant Funding to Support Innovative, Inclusive Projects in Parks and Recreation

(January 11, 2018)

Funding for the project provided by The Lakeshore Foundation

Ashburn, Va. (Jan. 11, 2017) — The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), in partnership with The Lakeshore Foundation, is proud to award four local park and recreation agencies with $1,000 each in microgrant funding to implement an innovative, inclusive project on their sites. This funding is part of NRPA’s Parks for Inclusion initiative, a three-year campaign dedicated to ensuring that everyone has equal access to the benefits of parks and recreation.

This microgrant program kickstarted NRPA’s efforts to support built environment enhancements and to model policy development and best practices for program implementation to increase access to health opportunities for 1 million people by September 30, 2020.

Local park and recreation agencies were invited to submit proposals for innovative projects or programs to create and expand opportunities for inclusive health and wellness programs and activities for those with physical and cognitive disabilities.

The four winning submissions will implement their idea by Jan. 31, 2018, and final stories and photos of the projects will be shared on NRPA’s Success Story database.

The McBeth Recreation Center in Austin, Texas, is implementing a “Learn to Ride Adaptive” bike program in its facility. The project entails using the grant money to purchase one adaptive cycle, which will be used by community members with cognitive and physical disabilities and to promote healthy, active lifestyles. The Learn to Ride Adaptive project will be implemented at the center, as well as at Zilker Park, The Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail and other local Austin trails. The first-of-its-kind program will be utilized by the McBeth Adult Day Program participants, Special Olympic athletes and community members with disabilities.

In the city of Prichard, Alabama, the “Playing Together Project” will allow access to the intergenerational community gardens at the newly designed Shirley M. Shark Historic Park. The innovative aspect of this park will be the use of mobile park ramps and adaptive signage, allowing those with physical and cognitive disabilities access to the community gardens, as well as to other recreational programs within the city. 

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is developing an inclusive “Grow Up Green Club” for preschool-age children, based on the successful Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Grow up Green Tot program. Children on the autism spectrum will participate with typically developing children as they explore sun, water, wind, dirt and backyard nature. Following the pilot, the program will be developed into lesson plans, and training will be conducted so the program can be easily replicated.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board will implement mobile-sensory spaces called “Sense Tents” for park users with physical and cognitive disabilities. The space will include items to regulate the senses and intends to provide a calming space for people when they need relief at events. MPRB intends to bring the space to various parks and events, allowing all Minneapolis park users the opportunity to experience the space.

To learn more about NRPA’s Parks for Inclusion Initiative, visit www.nrpa.org/parksforinclusion.

To learn more about NRPA, visit www.nrpa.org.   

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About the National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.

About Lakeshore Foundation
Lakeshore Foundation’s activity, research and advocacy initiatives annually serve thousands of children and adults with physical disabilities and chronic health conditions. Lakeshore is home to the CDC-funded National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD). NCHPAD works to create health equity for people with disability by providing assistance in the form of web-based materials and health communication endeavors. For more information, visit www.lakeshore.org and www.nchpad.org.