Therapeutic Recreation crew brings enjoyable and independence to neighborhood


What is therapeutic recovery?

Asheville Parks & Recreation oversees many specialized programs to harness the transformative power of outdoor spaces, cultural arts and active living for all members of our community. Over the years the Therapeutic recovery program (TR). has provided many opportunities for inclusive and adaptive activities for local people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In practice, this means that the TR team is willing to challenge the notion of what a person is told they “won’t be able to” and provide life-enhancing experiences for people of all abilities to access to obtain quality leisure activities.

Recently, the TR program established a new home base at the Murphy-Oakley Community Center. The move enabled the creation of OAKS, a new inclusive after-school program for elementary school students with and without disabilities that offers homework help and a variety of play opportunities. On days when public schools are closed or scheduled for early release, OAKS participants enjoy field trips and other special events. The additional program at the community center includes inclusive day camps during the spring, summer and winter holidays. On Tuesday and Wednesday mornings during the school year, adult activities include cooking, crafts, and physical activity.

Seasonally, TR organizes adaptive sports at locations throughout Asheville, including baseball, basketball, tennis, flag football, bowling, archery, fishing, and indoor rock climbing. To the extent public health guidance permits, the program looks forward to reintroducing its monthly dinner club, parents’ nights, movie nights, dances, cooking classes and other socializing opportunities.

young man with blue shirt

meet the team

lori longLori Long, LRT/CTRS, is the TR program coordinator. She graduated from Western Carolina University with a bachelor’s degree in recreational therapy and has worked in the field for 17 years, 11 of which at Asheville Parks & Recreation. Under her direction, the program has implemented OAKS, adaptive swimming, tennis, biking, dinner club, holiday events, virtual events including trivia and movies, and more.

Lori deserves them and takes care of them references through education, experience, continuous professional development, demonstrating mastery in the field and successfully passing a rigorous test. LRT denotes a Licensed Recreational Therapist, while CTRS denotes the qualification of a Certified Recreational Therapeutic Specialist.

justyn travers with young girl decorating cookiesJustin TraversHis current work can be traced back to the age of 15 and began while volunteering in special education classes at his high school and at Special Olympics and working at a summer camp for children with disabilities. While pursuing his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Lees-McRae College, he worked one-to-one with teenagers and adults on the autism spectrum. After jobs in a group home for children with autism and as a teacher’s assistant in the progressive education program, he joined Asheville Parks & Recreation in a part-time role that included summer camps and adaptive sports. In September 2021, Justyn became the full-time Program Manager for TR. Since then, he has continued to implement and strengthen existing programs, provided behavioral training to other program leaders, and advocated for disability awareness and basic sign language training for all employees.

Join us

If you want to participate Check out the latest highlights of the TR program.

We are currently looking for passionate Superstars to join our team. Make fun with a flexible schedule at a paycheck and pay from $15 an hour! The TR program offers individuals the opportunity to work in after-school, summer camp, and adaptive sports programs. Experience working with people with disabilities is desirable but not essential. apply online.