DALLAS, TX – Dallas Park and Recreation Department has received a $142,992 grant from the WellMed Charitable Foundation (WCF) that will allow the department to waive the required annual and monthly recreation access fees for Dallas residents ages 60 and older.
“We are delighted to thank WellMed Charitable Foundation for this significant contribution to our senior programs. Last year, the Park Department created a Senior Program Division that gives senior adults recreational and leisure options to keep their bodies and minds healthy,” said Park and Recreation Director Willis C. Winters. “This grant will help us reinforce the lives of active older adults by providing programs and events that encourage healthy lifestyles and productive living.”
Starting March 13, 2017, the department waived the $10 annual fee and the $5 monthly access fee to its 42 recreation centers for thousands of Dallas seniors. The 12-month grant applies to existing members and to new recreation center senior members.
With WellMed Charitable Foundation support, park and WellMed officials expect participation in the department-sponsored senior activities to increase.
“This partnership with Dallas Park and Recreation will remove the barrier of cost that may have prevented older adults from taking advantage of some very robust health, wellness and fitness programs offered at more than 40 recreation centers in Dallas,” said Richard Manning, co-founder of the WellMed Charitable Foundation. “At WellMed, we know that this kind of public-private partnership can have a real impact on improving the quality of life for older adults.”
WellMed and WCF executives Richard Manning, WCF co-founder and President,
Enterprise Clinic Operations; Robert Granger, President-DFW Market; and WCF Executive Director Carol Zernial presented Mayor Pro Tem Monica Alonzo, Dallas Park and Recreation Board Vice President Sean Johnson and Winters the check at a news conference at City Hall. Dr. Richard Johnston, CEO, President and Chief Physician Officer, USMD and Dr. Bryan Demarie, Medical Director, USMD SeniorCare were among other WellMed representatives.
In his remarks, Dr. Johnston said, “At USMD, we are very proud to support this initiative with our partners at WellMed to make health and wellness more easily accessible to seniors in our community. If you’ve been to see your doctor recently, chances are good that you have been told try to eat healthier and exercise more. Well now, we have another resource we can offer to help our older patients in Dallas County to follow that prescription for health.”
Partnerships like the WellMed Charitable Foundation allows us to leverage resources and continue to provide quality services to the general public.”
Following the news conference, park department and WellMed officials went to Reverchon Recreation Center to present a ceremonial check to a group of seniors from Reverchon, Harry Stone, Grauwyler, and Jaycee-Zaragoza recreation centers.
Acknowledging WellMed’s contribution, Alonzo, citing recent studies reporting that the average life expectancy of Americans is on the rise, said the grant will help the park department extend healthy living and recreational options for more seniors.
“I visit Jaycee-Zaragoza Recreation Center often and I see first-hand how our senior programming enhances lives through a full program of activities and events for our citizens,” said Alonzo. “I see them participating in the exercise room, attending dance classes, working puzzles, practicing computer skills, playing Lotería—Mexican bingo, going on field trips, and celebrating birthdays.”
A host of senior activity programs are offered at Dallas Park and Recreation’s 42 recreation centers from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday. These include aerobics, walking clubs, weight training, bridge, dominoes, arts & crafts, book clubs, day trips, fitness and nutrition classes, volunteer opportunities, and much more!
To view the Dallas Park and Recreation Senior Program Division Activity Guide, visit: www.dallasparks.org/DocumentCenter/View/5578.
The WCF is the philanthropic partner of WellMed and USMD Health System, which joined WellMed in late 2016. Employee donations fund special grants like this Dallas Park and Recreation initiative.