Smith speaks to Kiwanians, Downey awarded scholarship
by W. Brian Hale
Jun 14, 2010 | 1061 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jennifer Smith, director of leisure activities for the City of Jasper, spoke to the Kiwanis Club Monday afternoon.

Smith, who oversees the direction of programs often geared towards special needs children and seniors, said the Memorial Park Natatorium’s expanding base of events provides a wealth of family oriented activities that are enjoyable by all ages.

“We have programs for water aerobics, baseball, swimming, even disc golf — the game of golf played with a frizbee.” Smith said. “Our 50-Plus programs are dynamic too. We have a dance once a week, have painting activities, and other crafts like ceramics and needlepoint. The Natatorium’s really been a blessing for the entire community and to so many people in Walker County.”

The Natatorium’s programs for special needs children, such as the Aquanauts, which leads to competition in Special Olympics, moved Smith and her colleagues to form the Dream Team. The all-inclusive baseball team allows special needs children to play side-by-side with non-special needs children.

“My experiences with the Dream Team games and activities has really touched my heart.” she said. “When you get through with a Dream Team game, you are beaming. It’s one of the many reasons why I love my job. You get to deeply enrich and affect people’s lives in a positive way.”

The Natatorium due to its efforts has been nominated for this year’s Boggs-Mitchell Award by the Arc of Walker. The award goes to a non-Arc agency that provides a challenging, integrated, recreational/leisure program for participants with developmental disabilities.

Also during the meeting, Whitney Downey, a 2010 Carbon HIll graduate, was awarded the Kiwanis Club scholarship by Kiwanis president John Stallsmith. Downey plans on attending Bevill State, where she will study nursing.