Our Park and Recreation Story: How One Family Finds Peace in Parks — July Bonus Episode

By Cort Jones | Posted on June 17, 2021

July Bonus 410

The July issue of Parks & Recreation magazine is out now, which not only means it’s time for a bonus episode, it also means that we’re only a few days away from July, and Park and Recreation Month is extremely close. As you may know, each year for Park and Recreation Month, we host a cover contest for the July issue of the magazine. Each year we receive so many incredible photos and stories illustrating how parks and recreation is impacting communities across the country, and this year was no different. While you’ll be seeing many of the submissions throughout Park and Recreation Month on NRPA’s social media, there was one photo and story that really stood out to our esteemed selection committee – and that’s the photo on the graphic for today’s episode, as well as on the cover of the July issue.

A great photo isn’t just a photo, though — it tells a story. I’m so thrilled to be joined by three individuals on the show today — who you can also read about in the July cover story — who all play a role in the story behind this year’s winning photo. Joining me are Jenna Brinkman, the public affairs manager for Cosumnes Community Services District (CSD) in Elk Grove, California; Craig Pattenaude, the marketing and communications specialist for Cosumnes CSD (who is the photographer who took the incredible photo); and David Phommavong, a member of the Elk Grove community and the father of the child in the photo, Khuan.

On today’s episode, they share the heartwarming story behind this photo and how Jenna and Craig’s team are helping David and his family find peace in what can be a painful world for Khuan, who was diagnosed with moderate-to-severe autism spectrum disorder when he was 2 years old, as well as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and sensory processing disorder.

Tune in to the full episode below to learn about how Cosumnes CSD is helping Khuan, and others, experience the world without barriers, as well as:

  • How photography has helped Cosumnes CSD better tell the stories of their diverse community, as well as the various offerings their district provides.
  • How connecting with David and Khuan made the staff at Cosumnes CSD feel about the important work they do.
  • How Cosumnes CSD’s parks are helping the Phommavong family “find bearing in life.”
  • Why parks and nature are some of the only places Khuan can find peace and not experience the physical pain that comes with sensory processing disorder.
  • What Jenna, Craig and David’s favorite park memories are, and more!

Listen to the episode for the full story.


You can also listen to Open Space Radio on SpotifyStitcheriHeartRadio and other podcast services.