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  • Marketing and Communications: Strategic Planning

    Contains 3 Component(s), Includes Credits

    The goal of this course will to work through the development of a communications plan that aligns strategically through measurable outcomes aligned with assessed need and the mission, vision, and values of the agency and industry.

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    Part of NRPA's Marketing and Communications Certificate, This course will discuss the nature of strategic planning when marketing in parks and recreation. The goal of this course will to work through the development of a communications plan that aligns strategically through measurable outcomes aligned with assessed need and the mission, vision, and values of the agency and industry. Case studies will be discussed throughout to demonstrate how these concepts have been applied successfully. 

  • Instructor Training Grants for Physical Activity Programs

    Contains 2 Component(s) Recorded On: 10/23/2018

    NRPA, with the support of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is offering local park and recreation agencies across the country, Instructor Training Grants for Physical Activity Programs. Join us to learn more about this grant opportunity!

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    Bring evidence-based physical activity programs to your agency. These programs are sure to get your community members, especially older adults, active and healthy. NRPA, with the support of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is offering local park and recreation agencies across the country, Instructor Training Grants for Physical Activity Programs. Three evidence-based physical activity programs, Walk With Ease, Active Living Every Day and Fit & Strong! are beneficial for people with or without chronic conditions, and are especially popular among older adults of all abilities.  Join us to learn more about this grant opportunity!

    Lesha Spencer-Brown

    Program Manager, National Recreation and Park Association

    Lesha Spencer-Brown is a Health and Wellness Program Manager at the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), working to improve the health and wellness of older adults through parks and recreation for the past year. She currently manages NRPA's Health Aging in Parks initiative that aims to increase physical activity opportunities for older adults, primarily through dissemination of evidence-based programs, community and social engagement opportunities and built environment enhancements that support active lifestyles among older adults. Lesha received her Master of Public Health (MPH) in Community and Family Health- Socio-Health Sciences from the University of South Florida, and has over 8 years of experience in the field of public health, specifically in health promotion, disease prevention and social determinants of health. 

    Colleen Pittard

    Program Manager, National Recreation and Park Association

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  • Time Out! Let’s Talk About Sports Safety

    Contains 3 Component(s) Recorded On: 10/15/2018

    Join ePACT as we uncover the impact your day-to-day processes have on the well-being of your participants, and share common challenges that can impact safety in the event of an emergency.

    imageAny recreation department managing sports programs understands the importance of making sure that participants are safe while they’re having fun. Whether you’re on the pitch, the ice, or the field, safety is always top of mind. As the end of the year approaches, recreation organizations everywhere prepare for, and host, Fall and Winter sports programming. Besides the obvious tasks, you and your staff are responsible for providing a safe and secure environment for participants of all ages. Join ePACT as we uncover the impact your day-to-day processes have on the well-being of your participants, and share common challenges that can impact safety in the event of an emergency. 

    Wagner Veneziano

    Account Executive, ePACT Network

    Wagner Veneziano, Account Executive, ePACT Network – Wagner is an Account Executive and a core member of the ePACT Sales Team since 2015. Wagner works closely with recreation organizations, like Parks & Recreation Departments, YMCAs, and camps, across the United States and Canada. He’s a keen sports enthusiast both on and off the field, with a love of soccer, football, and baseball, to name a few, and, combined with his sales and marketing background, he helps recreation organizations enhance safety for program participants throughout the year.

  • NRPA Research's Key Findings in 2018

    Contains 5 Component(s), Includes Credits

    This session will review the key findings of this year’s reports; including, those from Park Metrics, the Economic Impact of Local Parks and Americans’ Engagement with Parks. The presenters also will highlight some best practices on how to use these resources at your agency.

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    2018 has been a productive year for the NRPA Research Team, with new reports and resources that help park and recreation professionals be more productive and give them the ability “Make the Case” for greater and more steady funding. This session will review the key findings of this year’s reports; including, those from Park Metrics, the Economic Impact of Local Parks and Americans’ Engagement with Parks. The presenters also will highlight some best practices on how to use these resources at your agency.

    Kevin Roth, PhD

    Vice President of Professional Development, Research and Technology, National Recreation and Park Association

    Kevin A. Roth is NRPA's Vice President of Professional Development, Research and Technology. Kevin leads the research team in its mission to create valuable data and metrics that enhance park and recreation agency performance and make the case for increased and more stable agency funding. Kevin also guides the development of innovative in-person and online educational offerings for professionals that advance parks and recreation in their communities. He also oversees the team delivering IT and web services to the association.

    Kevin has served in research and leadership functions in the nonprofit association space for more than two decades, including overseeing both research and IT at the Association for Financial Professionals for 13 years and conducting survey research at the National Association of Realtors for four years. Kevin has a Ph.D. in Economics from George Washington University and a BA in Economics from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

    Melissa May

    Senior Research Manager, National Recreation and Park Association

    Melissa came to the NRPA research team in 2015 with a background in environmental planning, GIS, and flood plain analysis. At NRPA, Melissa helps with producing surveys and reports, as well as, creating interactive graphics that accompany all studies and poll results, including the annual Field Report, NRPA Park Pulse, and the Americans' Engagement with Parks Survey.


    Kevin Brady

    Senior Evaluation Manager, National Recreation and Park Association

    Kevin is in charge of measuring the quality and impact of NRPA’s programs aiming to strengthen conservation, community health, and social equity nationwide.

    With 10 years of experience evaluating nonprofit programs in the D.C. area, Kevin is a member of the American Evaluation Association, holds a Masters of Public Administration from Virginia Tech, and a B.A. in Public Policy from Syracuse University.  Prior to working at NRPA, Kevin led evaluation for the Partnership for Public Service. He also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mongolia and worked on the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort in and around New Orleans. 

    Daniel Espada

    Research Analyst, National Recreation and Park Association

    Daniel Espada is a Research Analyst with the National Recreation and Park Association. He received his Master's degree in GIS from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and has been with NRPA since 2012 working with the research team on various projects including enhancements to the PRORAGIS system. PRORAGIS is an online database designed to assist park and recreation professionals in the effective management and planning of their resources and facilities. Mr. Espada's technical experience extends from performing spatial analysis, managing geodatabases, and maintaining and editing geospatial data. His research interests include demographic, transportation, and sustainability mapping

  • "What's Past is Prologue": The Déjà Vu Health Case for Urban Parks in the US and the UK

    Contains 4 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Parks are an integral part of city infrastructure. This session explains six strategies that are relevant to positioning parks for improving health and wellness while securing influential champions.

    imageOne of the forces which led to parks becoming an integral part of cities' infrastructure in the mid and late nineteenth century in the USA was a wide-spread perception that they attributed to alleviating disease contagion and epidemics. Six strategies will be explained that were effective in this successful movement that appear to have relevance to today's context. Four of them relate to positioning parks so parks are recognized as a component to be included in the multifaceted effort to address the obesity epidemic: conceptual alignment, cost effectiveness, associative positioning, and psychological positioning. The other two pertain to the tactical use of science to support advocacy and the need to secure influential champions.

    John Crompton

    Distinguished Professor & Mayor Pro Tem, City of College Station

    Biographical Profile

  • Shaping Space for Civic Life: The pivotal role of parks

    Contains 4 Component(s), Includes Credits

    This session will introduce the Assembly initiative and its evidence-based approach to shaping community design, with an emphasis on parks and open space. Panelists will reflect on historic and emerging research that points to the connection between the built environment and civic participation, and share a range of project examples that seek to enhance civic life through design interventions.

    imageCommunities across the United States face concerning trends related to civic life, including distrust, low voter turnout, and growing social and economic divides. Public space professionals, civic leaders, and community residents alike are interested in re-building trust, revitalizing neighborhoods, and supporting interaction among diverse groups. Promising initiatives are emerging across the country to transform lagging public spaces into dynamic, welcoming, and celebrated ones. In light of these trends, the Center for Active Design has launched “Assembly: Shaping Space for Civic Life,” a pioneering initiative to leverage place-based design as a tool to enhance civic engagement. The Assembly initiative has surfaced groundbreaking information, including quantifiable civic life metrics, as well as causal findings demonstrating that design elements do indeed impact civic perceptions. This session will introduce the Assembly initiative and its evidence-based approach to shaping community design, with an emphasis on parks and open space. Panelists will reflect on historic and emerging research that points to the connection between the built environment and civic participation, and share a range of project examples that seek to enhance civic life through design interventions. Conversations will leave participants with a better understanding of practical strategies for shaping parks through design, programming, and maintenance practices that can enhance civic life in their own communities.

    Jennifer Mahar

    Senior Director of Civic Initiatives at Fairmount Park Conservancy

    Jennifer joined the Fairmount Park Conservancy, non-profit champion of Philadelphia's 10,000 park system, in 2012.   As Senior Director of Civic Initiatives, Jennifer helps oversee 'Reimagining the Civic Commons' - an innovative, collaborative network of public space organizations in Philadelphia. Together, the collective demonstrates ways that civic assets can be connected as an integrated system and how they can be developed to foster talent, opportunity and engagement.   In addition, we partner with leading researchers to experiment with programmatic and design interventions that will help us inform how citizens access civic assets.  Jennifer oversees the Neighborhood Parks Stewardship Program, a unique partnership with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and our network of 100 volunteer park friend groups.  Together we organize, resource and celebrate our wonderful city parks and the volunteers who advocate for them.

    Maria Nardi

    Director, Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation, and Open Spaces

    Maria Nardi was appointed Director for Miami Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department (PROS) effective August 1, 2017. Ms. Nardi is responsible for one the most diverse and largest park systems in the country.  She oversees Planning and Development, Park Stewardship Operations and Administration of a system that includes over 270 park properties, over 13,000 acres of park land comprised of active and passive parks, as well as protected, environmentally sensitive properties, serving 2.7 million residents and approximately 1.4 million residents for the unincorporated area.  They include the Deering Estate at Cutler, Zoo Miami, managing over 26,000 acres of Natural Areas Conservation and Management (NAM), Golf Enterprise, 14 miles of Beaches, Agriculture Extension, Causeways, 260 miles of roadways, Disabilities Services, Marina Enterprise, and multiple Operating Regions.  

     Ms. Nardi is committed to public service and the enhancement of the community’s health, happiness and prosperity through the implementation of the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Department’s Planning and Design Excellence, Health and Fitness and Conservation Pillars. She has worked in the public sector 20 years where her vision for a sustainable and resilient community focuses on the premise that every great community has a great park system.

     Ms. Nardi oversees the implementation of the Parks and Public Space Masterplan to transform Miami Dade into a more economically, socially, and environmentally vibrant community through a system of parks, public spaces, natural and historic areas connected by greenways/blueways and complete streets designed as linear parks.  Her vision includes the role of parks and public spaces in shaping cities; the emerging evidence-based science of health and the built environment; and the creation of equitable, resilient communities through parks and public space.  

    Ms. Nardi is a sought-out speaker on issues related to the role of parks and public space in the development of cities. The Parks Masterplan and Recreation Program has been recognized by the White House and the National Park and Recreation Association as a national model for transforming communities. Among other accolades, she holds invited membership on the highly selective International Women’s Forum and is an appointed member of the Board of Directors of City Parks Alliance, the only independent, nationwide membership organization solely dedicated to urban parks. She has been recognized for her work with the International Progressive Architecture Urban Design Award, the University of Miami Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Architecture Profession, the Harvard Honor Award for Excellence in the Study of Landscape Architecture, The Mayor’s Woman Pioneer Award, and the Miami AIA Leadership in Government Award.


    Suzanne Nienaber

    Partnerships Director, Center for Active Design

    I'm an urban planner and facilitator striving to shape healthier, more engaged communities. As the partnerships director at the Center for Active Design (CfAD) I help people collaborate across sectors to elevate physical, mental, social, and civic well-being in their projects, and inspire transformative community change. Our work draws upon scholarly research and bridges a wide range of disciplines — embracing everything from urban planning and architecture to public health, political science, real estate development, facilities management, and more.

    I lead a range of initiatives at CfAD, including Assembly, our pioneering effort to understand how place-based design informs civic engagement objectives such as trust, participation in public life, and stewardship. Through this initiative we’re convening expert advisors, undertaking original research, and synthesizing findings on the relationship between place-based design and civic life.

  • Keeping up with Capital Replacements; Crawl, Walk Run

    Contains 4 Component(s), Includes Credits

    The session will show one agency’s progress in addressing this issue over a 15-year time span. It will focus on three phases of solving this problem; first - measuring and projecting needs, second - prioritizing funding of current replacements, and third - building reserves for to ensure sustainable funding.

    imageFunding for replacing aging assets can be overwhelming, especially in an environment of resource scarcity. While there are no easy answers or magic solutions, this session will provide guidance on how to create a replacement funding strategy that will put your agency on the path toward financial sustainability. The session will show one agency’s progress in addressing this issue over a 15-year time span. It will focus on three phases of solving this problem; first - measuring and projecting needs, second - prioritizing funding of current replacements, and third - building reserves for to ensure sustainable funding.

    Keith Hobson

    Director of Business & Facilities, Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District

    Mr. Hobson is the Director of Business & Facilities, and has been with Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District 17 years. Prior to entering public administration he spent 10 years as a practicing CPA with a focus on business planning. Mr. Hobson is active with the Special Districts Association of Oregon, serving on both the Board of Directors and the Legislative Committee. He has a Bachelor degree in Accounting from the University of Oregon, and a Masters in Public Administration from Portland State University.

    Mr. Hobson is an active volunteer in his community, recently completing 12 years of serving on the Washington County Audit Committee, and currently serving on the board of a local non-profit affordable housing development agency.

  • Conducting a Successful Grant Search to Fund Your Project

    Contains 4 Component(s), Includes Credits

    This overview will help take the mystery out of grant searches, highlighting several online tools, searches, and techniques you can use to help locate grants, plus share a few tips from funders on key metrics that can either elevate or kill your chances!

    imageSometimes finding the right grant can be more challenging than writing the application. How do I align with a funder? How do I find funders that are interested in my type of recreation project? What are the tricks to getting my application to the top of the pile? How do I know whether to write a full application? This overview will help take the mystery out of grant searches, highlighting several online tools, searches, and techniques you can use to help locate grants, plus share a few tips from funders on key metrics that can either elevate or kill your chances!

    Anne-Marie Spencer

    Corporate Vice President of Marketing & Communications, PlayCore

    Anne-Marie leads the marketing and communications effort for PlayCore, including serving as a company spokesperson and overseeing advertising, media, and communications across play and recreation brands. She has notably published over 50 positioning articles in major national magazines and publications on research-based best practices in play and recreation. She has presented at seminars across the world on a variety of topics related to advocating for quality play and recreation spaces and programs.

  • Grantmaking Success: A Conversation with Funders

    Contains 4 Component(s), Includes Credits

    This panel of various funders will discuss application processes, evaluation criteria, the importance of measurable outcomes, and strategies to ensure project success throughout the project period. This session will help identify the keys to your fundraising success!

    imageWhether it is capital funding for a new senior center, a mini-grant for a garden, or a simple request for donations of craft supplies, the challenges around fundraising are often the same. How to find the right funder? How to write a winning funding request with few resources? How to successfully measure outcomes? But the funders perspective isn’t that easy either. During this session, hear directly from funders on their funding preferences and strategies to select winning projects. This panel of various funders will discuss application processes, evaluation criteria, the importance of measurable outcomes, and strategies to ensure project success throughout the project period. This session will help identify the keys to your fundraising success!

    Rebecca Wickline (Moderator)

    Vice President of Partnerships & Business Development, National Recreation and Park Association

    Rebecca joined NRPA in 2009 and serves as the vice president of partnerships and business development. In her role, Rebecca establishes and guides the strategic philanthropic fund raising goals of the organization.

    Prior to her NRPA role, Rebecca served as Managing Director at Hayes & Associates for five years, a fund raising consulting firm that raises $10 million annually for non-profit organizations. Rebecca has almost 15 years of fundraising experience and has raised more than $25 million for organizations such as the American Red Cross, March of Dimes, USO, Fisher House, National Immigration Forum, Mile High Youth Corps, and many more. Rebecca received her Bachelor's degree and Masters of Business Administration from Ohio University.

    Elizabeth Krause

    St. David's Foundation

    Elizabeth Krause leads the St. David’s Foundation’s community investments in five areas.  In opportunities to be active, she works to increase park equity and community engagement.  In women’s health, she works to ensure that healthy women are the cornerstone of healthy families, communities, and economies.  In dental health, she works to overcome cost barriers to dental care while promoting prevention.  In access to healthy food, she works to improve the goodness and kid appeal of school food, while increasing the availability of affordable, fresh food in communities.  In health insurance enrollment and use, she supports maximizing the enrollment of low income people in the public and private coverage programs for which they are eligible, while helping them to use their benefits.  Elizabeth represents St. David’s Foundation on several local, state, and national multi-stakeholder initiatives and affinity groups.  

    Elizabeth previously spent 11 years with the Connecticut Health Foundation (CT Health) where she started as a program officer and completed her tenure as Vice President of Policy and Communications.  Elizabeth built CT Health’s disparities and equity portfolio, laying the groundwork for the adoption of health equity as the CT Health’s central focus in 2013.  Elizabeth led community-based coverage and health reform efforts, contributing to a significant drop in Connecticut’s uninsured rate.  She seeded an independent health equity policy advocacy organization and paved the way for the inclusion of community health workers in the state’s movement toward value based care.  She additionally oversaw a body of children’s oral health policy work.  Elizabeth started her career with the Public Health Prevention Service of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  While with the CDC, she completed a rotation with the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, helping states fulfill traumatic brain injury registry functions.  She got her first taste of philanthropy on rotation with the CDC Foundation where she facilitated public-private partnerships in mobile mammography and emergency preparedness.  On field assignment at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, she was instrumental in starting up the state’s Office of Health Equity.  She also served temporary assignments with the CDC Global AIDS Program in Rwanda.

    Elizabeth holds a bachelors degree from Smith and a masters degree from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health

    Lisa Herber

    Grants Coordinator, Indiana DNR Division of Outdoor Recreation

    Lisa has worked in the natural resources and environmental consulting fields for 20 years.  She has a Bachelor of Science in Forestry, Majoring in Wildlife Management, from Purdue University.  She has worked in state government for 9 years and for the past 3 years has been working for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Outdoor Recreation, as a Grants Coordinator.

    Lisa is currently responsible for administering multiple grant projects for parks and outdoor recreation from 4 state and federal programs; providing technical assistance to grant seekers, grant recipients and the general public; representing the division on committees; and coordinating with other government agencies, not-for-profit organizations and advisory boards.

    Lisa enjoys hiking, backpacking, kayaking, gardening and photography in her spare time. She is very active in her local community and is the KIB Adopt-A-Block Captain for her neighborhood block. She is a member of the Indiana Park and Recreation Association, on the Board of Directors for the Purdue Ag Alumni Association, and a Red Cross Volunteer. 

    Jennifer Mahar

    Senior Director of Civic Initiatives at Fairmount Park Conservancy

    Jennifer joined the Fairmount Park Conservancy, non-profit champion of Philadelphia's 10,000 park system, in 2012.   As Senior Director of Civic Initiatives, Jennifer helps oversee 'Reimagining the Civic Commons' - an innovative, collaborative network of public space organizations in Philadelphia. Together, the collective demonstrates ways that civic assets can be connected as an integrated system and how they can be developed to foster talent, opportunity and engagement.   In addition, we partner with leading researchers to experiment with programmatic and design interventions that will help us inform how citizens access civic assets.  Jennifer oversees the Neighborhood Parks Stewardship Program, a unique partnership with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and our network of 100 volunteer park friend groups.  Together we organize, resource and celebrate our wonderful city parks and the volunteers who advocate for them.

  • Keepin' it REAL in Parks and Recreation

    Contains 4 Component(s), Includes Credits

    In this session we will explore how to leverage the power of parks and recreation to advance racial equity. We will use the racial equity framework and tools to demonstrate how parks and recreation agencies can leverage and expand opportunities to achieve racial equity in the communities they serve.

    imageIn this session we will explore how to leverage the power of parks and recreation to advance racial equity. We will use the racial equity framework and tools to demonstrate how parks and recreation agencies can leverage and expand opportunities to achieve racial equity in the communities they serve. How to Operationalize REAL in Parks and Recreation – use of racial equity tool and data to drive results. 

    • Review key terms: implicit bias, individual, institutional and structural racism;
    • How do these terms show up in the planning and programming functions of parks and recreation;
    • Practical ways to operationalize racial equity tools; and
    • Share lessons learned and successes of existing parks and recreation agencies involved in racial equity.

    Aliza Wasserman

    Senior Associate, Race, Equity, and Leadership, National League of Cities

    As Senior Associate for Race, Equity and Leadership (REAL) at NLC since 2017, Aliza R. Wasserman leads a national learning community of elected leaders supporting their cities to advance racial equity and foster racial healing. Aliza has spent the past decade working at the intersections of public health, racial justice and federal, state and local policy, most recently, as the Policy & Advocacy Manager for Wholesome Wave. After receiving her MPH and MS in Food Policy from Tufts University in 2009, Aliza led policy efforts with the City of Boston’s health department, where she advocated for state legislation and budget priorities to address racial health inequities amongst residents of Boston, co-led racial justice and health equity trainings, implemented city-wide policy and systems changes to foster healthy environments and supported multi-year organizational change and community engagement processes to reduce inequities rooted in racism.

    Edith Michel

    Acting Chief, Special Projects, Department of Parks and Recreation, Prince Georges County

    Marie-Edith Michel is a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional with 20+ years of practical local government experience culled from a broad scope of roles in the parks and recreation environment with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) a bi-county organization in the Washington Metropolitan Area.  M-NCPPC has a diverse client base of nearly 2 million people.  She has served the parks, planning and recreational arms of both Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties. Her skill set includes experiences in research and evaluation, budget development and monitoring of tax supported and special funds ($96 million), park planning, organizational development and diversity management as well as strategic planning, and parks and recreation program planning. She is also a diversity and inclusion trainer and a certified community engagement facilitator.  She views her role as an internal consultant to her department helping staff to transform themselves by focusing on organizational effectiveness, improvement, and development.  She wears different hats serving as a trainer, facilitator, researcher, and advisor.  She is also a volunteer docent for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art and has traveled to several continents as a representative for several non-profit organizations that promote international understanding, tolerance, and peace .  

    Leon Andrews, Jr.

    Director, Race, Equity, and Leadership (REAL), National League of Cities

    Leon T. Andrews, Jr. was appointed as the inaugural director for Race, Equity And Leadership (REAL) at the National League of Cities and prior served as the senior fellow and program director at the National League of Cities’ Institute for Youth, Education, and Families, where he led all of the Institute’s youth development work with mayors and other municipal leaders around the country including in areas related to childhood obesity, disconnected youth, youth engagement and leadership, and youth master planning since 2006. Before joining the National League of Cities, Leon completed a research fellowship at The Forum for Youth Investment. Leon has an extensive background working in government, the community, the private sector, and academia for the last 25 years including the United States Department of Justice, United States Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, the United States Public Interest Research Group, the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, YouthBuild Pittsburgh, the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and as an adjunct professor in the Department of Political Science at Eastern Michigan University. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Howard University, a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University, and is a PhD candidate in the Urban and Regional Planning program at The University of Michigan. Leon is married to an amazing woman, Dr. Kristine M. Andrews, for the last 14 years and they have three beautiful daughters – Jessica Austin, Julia Iris, and Joanna Jonas.