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Therapeutic recreation big hit with 160 participants

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Therapeutic recreation big hit with 160 participants

Melissa and Laura Anthony work on making greeting cards at the Boys and Club Tuesday for the City of Manteca's first ever Therapeutic Recreation Social.

JASON CAMPBELL/The Bulletin


POSTED March 18, 2009 4:53 a.m.
Stephany Howard didn’t let her missed baskets at the Boys and Girls Club ruin her fun Tuesday morning.

As part of the first ever Adult Therapeutic Recreation Social organized by the Manteca Parks and Recreation Department, Howard was one of hundreds of adults with developmental disabilities that spent her St. Patrick’s Day morning enjoying food, making arts and crafts, and playing games.

According to Recreation Coordinator Toni Lundgren – who along with Recreation Coordinator Brandy Kendrick put the program that received more than 160 early confirmations together – the day was designed as a chance for those with disabilities to mingle with one another while promoting education and understanding to those in the outside world.

“The benefit of something like this is definitely the social interaction between the consumers and the work that they do with the volunteers that we have making this event possible,” Lundgren said. “Seeing so many people here is really amazing, and it’s special to see so many people having fun.”

Lundgren began working with Jon Cardoza of the Boys and Girls Club to organize the event after she had heard of previous undertakings in other cities that had been successful.

While looking for a suitable location, she realized that since the Boys and Girls Club isn’t used during the early morning weekday hours, it would be the perfect place to host an event that she hopes can either become a regular occurrence or spur off others like it.

And as an event it’s hardly the first thing that comes to the mind of most residents when they think of the Parks and Recreation Department and what they offer.

As staffers, Lundgren and Kendrick have been instrumental in coming up with concepts that some might consider “alternative” but have been a huge hit with the audiences that they aim to serve. Fresh off the success of the Youth Advisory Commission dances, Kendrick – who oversees the program – is working on a plan to produce an event similar to the one held Tuesday that focuses on teens instead of just adults.

Even though putting something like that on requires a lot of supervision and extra hands, nobody at the Boys and Girls Club or Parks and Recreation had any trouble fielding volunteers that were willing to spend their morning helping others enjoy theirs.

“We just feel that we’re a part of this community and that we should give back whenever we get the chance – to do something that’s larger than ourselves,” said Teresa Daniels of Crossroads Grace Church – who manned the front counter with fellow church volunteers Jennie Garcia and Shirley Snow. “It’s a blessing to have events like this and to get the opportunity to see people enjoy themselves in such an environment.”
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