Civic Futures Awards

Inclusion Unit for Austin’s Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation Department

Inclusion Unit

The problem

PARD strives to create safe, accessible and supportive environments for all, regardless of background or ability. PARD embraces diversity and works to ensure all are accepted, included and welcomed to participate and recreate together.

Solution / Approach

PARD created the Inclusion Unit, a workgroup of Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists, to perform individual and programming assessments, develop recommendations and modification plans. The team also leads department-wide staff trainings in areas of inclusion, diversity, positive behavior intervention and disability awareness.

Core team
  • Tiffany Cabin
  • Davin Bjornaas
  • Kipa Smith
  • Laurel Heizelman
  • Emmanuel Turner
  • Jonathon Hayes
Key advisors
  • PARD Executives and programming staff
  • Mayor’s Committee for People with Disabilities
  • Programming participants and parents/guardians
What can make it sustainable?

As Austin continues to grow, so will the need for adaptive and inclusive programming support. Continued financial support from the City’s budget, along with leadership support is imperative.

Advice to others

Build ample support, both internally and externally, prior to implementation. Know the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and know it well, and make sure you have good legal counsel.