PlayCore, a Chattanooga based company that promotes its mission and values by giving back to communities in a variety of ways, bestows its annual Hero award as a way to recognize the inspirational individuals they meet throughout the course of business. This year, the PlayCore Hero Award was given to Dr. Keith Christensen, Ph.D., for his valuable partnership and ongoing dedication to inclusion.
Christensen is a faculty member in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning and a faculty fellow with the Center for Persons with Disabilities (CPD), at Utah State University. At the CPD, Keith is actively involved in researching the planning and design of socially inclusive environments, human rights, and social justice. His research also focuses on social integration of individuals with disabilities in communities, physical activity behaviors of individuals with disabilities, and employment in relation to the planning and design of the built environment. In addition, Keith has developed and continues to direct the Beyond Access program, a national technical assistance program on inclusive play environments for children with disabilities.
“Thank you for this recognition,” said Keith. “I feel strongly that children with disabilities need places without barriers to their fully participating in play with their friends, families, and communities; and am grateful to have found partners in the people of PlayCore who feel the same. I am honored to partner with PlayCore in advocating for places where children can experience play rather than disability.”
PlayCore is proud to partner with Keith and the CPD to help champion inclusive play initiatives. For nearly a decade, Keith has partnered with PlayCore on inclusive initiatives. These benchmark initiatives have helped to establish PlayCore’s leadership in the field of inclusive play, including the development and expansion of the best practice planning and design guide, Me 2: 7 Principles for Inclusive Playground Design™, new innovations for the playground, and the promotion of play environments where people of all ages and abilities can participate in meaningful play.
Bob Farnsworth CEO explains, “We are continually inspired by the people we encounter, people who have made a career of giving back selflessly, with complete dedication to improving the communities they serve. These are the true heroes of any community, devoting their time, knowledge, and expertise, in order to make a difference. Their dedication mirrors PlayCore’s mission and values, so we wanted to find a way to recognize them and honor their commitment.”
The award was presented at the 2016 National Recreation and Park Association Conference in St. Louis, MO, on October 5. In support of the award, PlayCore has made a $1500 donation to Keith’s chosen charity, Common Ground Outdoor Adventures.