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Aug. 15, 2016

Chandler Parks & Recreation wins two industry awards

Chandler Parks & Recreation has earned two statewide Awards of Excellence from the Arizona Parks and Recreation Association (APRA) -- a non-profit association organized to promote, broaden and improve parks and recreation in Arizona. Winners were announced Aug. 11 in conjunction with the association’s annual conference at the Wigwam Resort.

Chandler Parks & Recreation won the 2016 Volunteer of the Year Award and the Outstanding Adaptive Program Award, competing with more than 90 statewide nominees across 22 categories.
“It meant a lot to us to be recognized at the state level for our efforts,” said Acting Community Services Director, Barbara Young. “Our staff works very hard to provide the community with programs and events that facilitate social activity, healthy lifestyles and an appreciation for Chandler.”
The Volunteer of the Year Award, one of APRA’s two most prestigious awards, was awarded to Chandler Senior Center volunteers Berit (Bert) and LaVerne Johanson. Married for 68 years, the Johansons began attending the Senior Center in 1991. Shortly thereafter, the couple began volunteering at the Center and would spend the next 25 years making contributions that enabled the active adult community to thrive and age with dignity. Together, the husband and wife team have donated more than 11,885 hours of their time.
“The community knows they can rely on us to deliver vital services,” explained Young. “In partnership with actively engaged citizens like the Johansons, the City is able to continue providing engaging and enriching programs for residents of all ages and abilities.”
Chandler’s Therapeutic Recreation Program received the Outstanding Adaptive Program Award for their development, implementation and coordination of the Chandler Fun Run. Established to enrich the lives of children with special needs, the Chandler Fun Run serves as a catalyst for students to achieve personal fitness goals and overcome physical disabilities – all while having fun.

Held at Tumbleweed Park, the Fun Run boasts an entertaining, carnival-like atmosphere complete with music, face painters, balloon artists, photo booth, lunch and the main event, a one mile run-walk. The Chandler Fun Run has become a core part of Chandler’s therapeutic recreation culture, encouraging organic community engagement during, and long after, each run.
“This is truly an honor shared not only with the Community Services Department, but also our community and elected leadership as we continue to enhance the quality of life through parks and recreation,” said Young.