The Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department is the local host for this week’s annual Indiana Park & Recreation (IPRA) Conference & Expo, held at the Grand Wayne Center through today.
During the conference, the Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department’s Unwind Your Mind program received the Inclusive Program Award and the Food Service Program was awarded the Inclusive Community Service Award.
Unwind Your Mind offers classes and activities for people with early signs of dementia at the Community Center downtown. A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia is life changing. Since individuals with dementia often feel isolated and disconnected, it is important that opportunities to participate in community activities that are meaningful, creative and social are made available to them. Such activity can provide a sense of competence, a reduction in depression, and improved relationships with family members. Studies have shown that arts, crafts, computers and social activities help slow mild cognitive loss by up to 50%.
The Food Service program serves approximately 100,000 free meals and snacks each year at its nine summer playground sites and four year-round facilities. Along with the program’s core mission of feeding children, the Food Service program is about educating children on healthy eating habits and social skills in a safe and fun environment.
“We’re pleased that we could partner with the state organization to hold the conference in Fort Wayne for the first time in 20 years,” said Parks & Recreation Director Al Moll. “And receiving two awards makes the week even more special.”
The IPRA event has drawn more than 600 park and recreation professionals and offers more than 50 educational sessions.
“We are thrilled to host the 2018 Indiana Park & Recreation Association Conference & Expo in Fort Wayne and excited to highlight the many attractions the city has to offer. From the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory to the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, it’s a truly dynamic city. The Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department has played an integral part in the planning of this conference from start to finish. It’s clear they take great pride in their community and parks,” said IPRA Executive Director Lisa Nye. “Fort Wayne is one of few communities that can host our conference due to the growth we have achieved in recent years. We couldn’t be more excited to show off Fort Wayne!”