The City of Mesa is maintaining its promise to serve people of all abilities. The Mesa Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities Department has once again received the Certified Autism Center designation from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). In addition, the City is also joining the Global WeThe15 campaign, which aims to represent and transform the lives of persons with disabilities. Through this campaign, Mesa commits to removing barriers faced by persons with disabilities and promote respect and inclusivity.
In 2019 the City of Mesa department became the first parks and recreation organization in the world to obtain the certification, which demonstrates the Mesa Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities Department's commitment to ensuring guests with autism and sensory sensitivities have the best possible experience at its facilities.
"The renewal of the certification is proof that our Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities Department employees have made it a priority to ensure children on the autism spectrum have a fun experience in Mesa," said Mayor John Giles.
Since the original certification, more than 250 full-time and part-time staff have completed the Autism and Sensory Training on autism overview, program development, social skills, sensory, communication, environment and emotional awareness. As a result, employees are prepared and comfortable serving people with autism and all types of special needs.
"Educating and training our staff provides comfort for the parent or individual with autism to visit our facilities or join our programs. We reduce the stress of the parent because they do not have to worry about how their child will be treated or if they will be welcomed into the program," said Andrea Moore, Mesa Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities Director.
The Department has developed Sensory Guides at Dobson Ranch Park, Pioneer Park, Riverview Park, Red Mountain Center, Skyline Aquatic Center and Mesa Convention Center. The guide provides insight on how a child with sensory processing issues may be affected by each sense at attractions within the venue.
"We have always welcomed individuals with special needs into our after-school and summer camp programs, but now feel like we have the confidence to provide an even better experience," said Katie Paul, Recreation Coordinator.
The WeThe15 campaign was introduced at today's Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony. Over the next ten years, organizations that sign to the campaign commit to putting persons with disabilities at the heart of their diversity and inclusion efforts. The Mesa Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities Department offers various sports, recreation and leisure programs for persons of all abilities.
For more information about Mesa Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities Department autism and adaptive programs, please visit www.mesaparks.com.