by Chandra Fontenot Broomfield, Therapeutic Recreation Director
The mission of the City’s Department of Therapeutic is to provide quality recreation and leisure opportunities for individuals ages 50+ as well as those with physical and/or cognitive impairments ages 6+. In the coming year, the department hopes to integrate the two populations served by developing more inclusive and inter-generational programs while continuing to strive for the goal of improved recreational opportunities. Therapeutic Recreation students from the University of Southern Mississippi and Jackson State University will intern with the department in the spring, summer, and fall semesters. These students will be essential components to ensuring that quality programs are provided to participants.
The Living Young Program serves the needs of individuals who are age 50 or better through monthly and weekly recreational opportunities. In the coming year, there will be focus on improving the existing programs and revamping some existing programs to reach the lower end of this demographic. For example, we will revamp special events such as the Annual Health Fair, on which we partner with the Mississippi College School of Nursing, in an effort to provide information that individuals of all ages can benefit from.
Our continued goal for the Abilities program is to help participants to improve both mentally and physically through participation in recreational programs. Past programs such as the Beauty and Bold Pageant and TOPSoccer will be added back to the calendar for 2019 in order to offer more opportunities for engagement. The department will continue its leisure education and life skills components in an effort to give participants a program that will further help to increase their quality of life.
In 2018, partnerships were developed with Clinton Public Schools Life Skills Program, Willowood Development Center and One Hope, inc. to provide fitness and recreational opportunities during the day. We will continue to develop these relationships.
Therapeutic Recreation can be defined as the use of purposeful recreation activities to increase functioning and overall quality of life. It is with this in mind that the Department of Therapeutic Recreation sets its 2019 goal to no only develop programs, but to also cultivate strong community relationships that ultimately lead to reaching the goal of “Improving Lives One Program at a Time.”