National Recreation Foundation Spotlight

September 1, 2012, Department, by NRPA

As part of an ongoing series on the National Recreation Foundation, Parks & Recreation highlights grant recipients for the foundation’s program benefiting at-risk youths. This month features programs from Texas, Mississippi, California, and Colorado.


Personal Health and Physical Fitness Grant—$30,000  

Founded in 1906, the Neighborhood Youth Association (NYA) is a nonprofit organization serving low-income, troubled youth and families in the Venice, California, area. Personal Best serves 120 youth between ages of 6 and 18 who are primarily at-risk Latinos for whom English is their second language. The NYA’s program helps youth develop basic skills for recreation and healthy living by providing a variety of fitness opportunities, nutrition education, and integrated life skills, such as cooking, science, math, and vocabulary.

TCU INSITUTE OF Child Development  


The Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University strives to help children suffering the effects of early trauma, abuse, or neglect by conducting research to deepen the understanding about the complex needs of these children and how and why these harmful experiences can impair development and lead to social, behavioral, and emotional problems. The grant is in its third year of funding and goes to support the implementation of a comprehensive training program for children’s residential care centers, community agencies, and professionals who support at-risk youth. The training program teaches others how to replicate TCU Institute of Child Development’s methods of supporting and empowering vulnerable children throughout the country.



Urban Youth Ministries address the emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of atrisk youth in the Denver metropolitan area through a comprehensive support system. Participants, who may lack healthy, supportive relationships, take part in mentoring and faith-based programming, which incorporates supportive group recreation and provides a social network that helps young people develop in positive and healthful ways.


Triple Play Grant—$30,000  

Mississippi youth face many challenges, including the continued effects of Hurricane Katrina and the nation’s highest obesity rate. The Triple Play program provides daily physical activity challenges, health and nutrition classes, and social recreation. This program gives youth lifelong skills to improve their health and the health of their families. Triple Play, a program that addresses the body, mind, and soul of participants, was piloted in 2009 with NRF support.

The National Recreation Foundation and NRPA, along with its predecessor organizations, have had a close working relationship since 1919. The foundation has supported many programs and activities through NRPA for all of those years, including the National Recreation School, the World Leisure and Recreation Association, and many other programs of the former National Recreation Association and NRPA. In more recent years, the foundation’s endowment portfolio has grown significantly, which has made possible the funding of more than $10 million of NRPA programs and activities. In addition to NRPA, the NRF supports many other not-for-profit organizations and government agencies throughout the United States. In 2010-2011, grants were made to 36 programs for a total of just under $2 million.

The mission is “to be a life-enhancing force on the youth of the nation by investing strategically in recreation with a special focus on programs for those who are economically, physically, or mentally disadvantaged.” The NRF gives funding priority to organizations working to coordinate efforts among local, state, and national agencies that address this mission, as well as to programs focusing on outcomes leading to significant social change. The foundation views recreation and the leisure services as a broad and holistic perspective that assists youth-at-risk by encouraging healthy lifestyles for all.