Building Healthy Communities Through Parks and Recreation

Recorded On: 04/12/2018

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Hear the role parks and recreation agencies are playing in building and supporting healthy communities. Presenters will share how NRPA’s health and wellness initiatives support the overall goal to increase access to healthy foods and physical activity through programs, built environments, and policy. This webinar will also highlight park and recreation agencies who are collaborating with the local agriculture community to increase access to fresh foods, provide nutrition education and create more sustainable and environmentally conscious communities.

Maureen Acquino

National Recreation and Park Association

Maureen Acquino is a program specialist for the National Recreation and Park Association. As a part of the Health and Wellness team, she focuses on healthy out-of-school time programming and inclusive practices in parks and recreation. 

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. 

Marla Collum

Senior Manager of Programs, National Recreation and Park Association

Marla Collum  works closely with park and recreation agencies administering NRPA’s initiatives and grant programs. Marla serves as a primary point of contact for applicants and grantees throughout the grant process on several programs, offering assistance, advice and best practices to park and recreation agencies. Prior to joining NRPA in 2013, Marla was Grants Manager at the National Trust for Historic Preservation and served as the Historic Review Officer of the City of Detroit Planning and Development Department from 1998-2008. Marla has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Michigan and a Master of Science Degree in Historic Preservation Planning from Eastern Michigan University. 

Kate Clabaugh

Senior Government Affairs Manager, National Recreation and Park Association

Kate Clabaugh joined NRPA in May 2017 and manages our advocacy work related to health and wellness policy priorities, including nutrition, healthcare, and education. Kate previously worked for the national anti-hunger organization, the Food Research and Action Center, working with Congress to protect and expand access to the federal nutrition programs. 

Kim Brasher

Healthy St. Pete Coordinator / City of St. Petersburg Parks & Recreation Department

Kim is responsible for the development and implementation of the Healthy St. Pete initiative, a citywide initiative launched by the deputy mayor to improve community health outcomes within the City of St. Petersburg. Kim has been employed with the City of St. Petersburg for 19 years and has diverse experience in the areas of special event planning, grants management, facilities management, and wellness program development. Kim was awarded her certification as a Certified Workplace Wellness Specialist (CWWS) by the National Wellness Institute in 2012 and is a member of the Healthy Pinellas Consortium, John Hopkin’s All Children’s Hospital Unified Health Solutions Committee, and City of St. Petersburg Health, Energy, Resiliency, and Sustainability Committee. Kim is a sports and outdoor enthusiast having played both collegiate volleyball and softball and continues to stay active participating in local charity runs, camping, and kayaking throughout the state.

Dr. Billy J. Willis

Executive Director, Tunica County Parks & Recreation

Dr. Willis has served as the director of Parks & Recreation in Tunica County, Mississippi, since 1994. As director, Dr. Willis developed a diversified department and implemented innovative programs in the areas of recreation, cultural arts, senior citizens, aquatics, mentoring, youth development, Boys & Girls Clubs and health and wellness for the citizens of Tunica County. Dr. Willis envisioned developing a department that focuses on building healthy minds, bodies and spirits for the citizens of Tunica County through collaboration with organizations to enhance community relations throughout Tunica County. These collaborations have yielded initiatives such as afterschool enrichment to youth in a safe and secure environment; outreach Mentoring Program; a variety of health promotions and disease prevention programs; and youth and adult health and wellness education programs.

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