Highlights Philly’s LOVE Your Park Week

Philadelphia – Find out how parks can be key to the health and well-being of people at all ages at a LOVE your Park week event being presented by GenPhilly, a program of Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA), on Tuesday, May 12.   GenPhilly’s “Complete Parks” forum will focus on park accessibility and innovative park programming. It will take place from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, 2100 Arch Street in Center City.  Information/registration for the event is available at www.genphilly.org.

“People should come to learn about why accessibility features are important in parks and what programming exists and is needed to encourage both seniors and people with disabilities to use our city’s public spaces,” says Kate Clark, co-founder and chair of GenPhilly, a network of emerging professionals who are inspiring Philadelphians to connect with older adults through their work and personal lives.

For instance, she says “What is the distance of the park from the closest transit or parking spot? What is the condition of the parking lot surface, sidewalks and pathways?  Is there a wheelchair-accessible restroom?  Are there railings alongside steps?”  A planner for policy and program development at PCA), Clark earlier developed an age-friendly parks checklist along with the Fairmount Park Conservancy that has been shared with many of the city’s urban planners and park stewardship groups.

Likewise, creative programming can help people to use and appreciate their local parks, she says. One such example is “The Senior Strut: A Health Event in the Park,” a collaboration by the Fairmount Park Conservancy, PCA and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. Held in the fall for the past two years, it features a one-mile loop walk along scenic Boathouse Row, beginning and ending at Lloyd Hall. After the walk, participants return to Lloyd Hall for a health fair with free health screenings and enjoy fitness activities and a healthy cooking demonstration. Another example is intergenerational park playgrounds which exist in parks here and in other communities.

Speakers include:

Keynote Speaker Christopher Noel, accessibility coordinator New York City Parks Department; Kathryn Ott Lovell, executive director Fairmount Park Conservancy; AJ Nanayakkara, executive director Global Abilities Foundation; Danielle Denk, program manager, The Trust for Public Land;  Gail Farmer, director of education, Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education; Chris Dougherty, project manager, Fairmount Park Conservancy; Sharlene Waller, center director, West Oak Lane Senior Center; James Tyack, founder of  Unlock Philly, which advocates on accessibility in the built environment.

Founded in 2009, GenPhilly works to change stereotypes about aging and establish Philadelphia as a lifelong community for all of ages. For more information about GenPhilly, visit www.genphilly.org

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Philadelphia’s LOVE Your Park Week takes place from May 9 through 16. This weeklong celebration of Philadelphia’s parks focuses on maintaining City parks as “anchors in our neighborhoods for safe, welcoming and family-friendly recreation,” according to the event website, www.loveyourpark.org.

Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA) is the first place where older Philadelphians, and adults with disabilities, can turn for information and services to help maintain or improve the quality of their lives.

Established in 1973, PCA is a private, non-profit, nationally-recognized Area Agency on Aging. PCA contracts with more than 200 community organizations to deliver services aimed at helping older Philadelphians and adults with disabilities achieve their maximum levels of health, independence and productivity. Through its work, PCA touches the lives more than 100,000 individuals each year.

 One of the region’s largest non-profit organizations, PCA is funded primarily through the Older Americans Act, and the Pennsylvania Lottery, through the Pennsylvania Department of Aging and Medical Assistance, through the Department of Human Services

For information on PCA’s services and programs, call the PCA Helpline at 215-765-9040 or visit www.pcaCares.org.   

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