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Recreation Brings Smiles through the Fee Assistance Program

Years ago, Naperville Park District began a scholarship program, now known as the Fee Assistance Program, to assist residents in financial need. Each quarter, those who qualify can register for a program or membership to enjoy experiences like summer camp, Centennial Beach memberships, preschool programs or senior exercise classes. 
 
During the recession in 2008, participation in the Fee Assistance Program began to grow and that growth has continued through 2019, despite a sustained economic recovery.  This infographic, released in December 2018, gives a quick overview of the program, the growing need and the benefits.

How to Help Support the Program
The Naperville Parks Foundation, founded in 2011, supports the mission of making recreation of all kinds accessible to everyone across the community, regardless of socioeconomic circumstances. The Foundation encourages donations from individuals and organizations to support the Fee Assistance Program. Tax-deductible gifts to support the Fee Assistance Program may be made any time by clicking the “donate now” button at www.napervilleparksfoundation.org. 

How to Apply for the Fee Assistance Program
You can access the application in both English and Spanish at https://www.napervilleparks.org/feeassistanceprogram.
Instructions on the page include the eligibility requirements, due dates, and amount of financial assistance for memberships and programs.

 
Stories from Participants
In the fall of 2019 we asked those who had benefitted from the Fee Assistance Program whether they would be willing to share their experience as an encouragement to others, either to donate toward the program or to apply for assistance themselves.


Here are some of the responses we received:
Parent #1
I would like to share my experience with this program, as it was a real blessing to my kids.  We are so grateful for this opportunity!

My older daughter is currently enrolled in ice skating. She is taking a beginner class in ice skating. Ice skating is her favorite sport and we, as parents, wanted to take it to the next level for her. This program has opened the door for us to make our plans a reality.

My twin boys, who are four years old, are enrolled in an “art in action” class. October 3rd was their first class.  The very next day, when they woke up, they both asked me, “Are we going back to that class, where we built a guitar?  We want to go there TODAY!” They truly enjoy it and their teacher is so wonderful and so great with kids! 

As any parent out there, we too would want to be able to give our kiddos the opportunity to learn and express themselves in different aspects of arts and sports. Unfortunately, the other financial responsibilities do stop many parents to do just that. Fortunately, there are organizations and people, who acknowledge the fact and invest in the future of next generation. And we are so grateful for them. 

Parent #2
I believe in the fee assistance program because I have seen it in my family.   

We used to foster children who received this scholarship.  It was the first time that they had swimming lessons or basketball or whatever it was I signed them up for. 

After my husband had renal failure, he stopped working.  He finally had the time to take the day trips but not the money for them.  He signed us up for a play with a brunch.  He really enjoyed it. It had been a very physically trying time for him.  It still is a physically challenging time for him. The day trips are really enjoyable for the two of us.  Now that financially we are better situated, my husband has signed up for a play that he was more than willing to pay for.

Parent #3
I have kids with sensory issues and it is very challenging to make sure that my children are getting enough sensory stimulation throughout the day. Through the fee assistance program I was able to get them into a few different activities throughout the year to keep them engaged and active. It also gives me the ability to engage with my community and feel connected to other moms in the area. 

Dealing with financial stress can really isolate you as you try to minimize expenses, but you need to still have the ability to enjoy life and participate in the world and that is why programs such as these are so important to creating happy and healthy community environments. I was also able to take a meditation class where I learned how to deal with stress and stay calm, which I highly recommend especially for those struggling financially. 

You’re all doing a great job and this program is really doing a wonderful service to the community. Thank you! 
 


Connect your business’s brand with a well-known and respected one like the Naperville Park District’s and reach a large, active and diverse audience.

To learn more about our sponsorship opportunities contact
Stacey Fontechia Sales and Sponsorship Manager at 630-848-3575 or at sfontechia@napervilleparks.org.

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Funds raised through the Naperville Parks Foundation support the Naperville Park District’s Fee Assistance Program. The Naperville Parks Foundation supports the recreation needs and desires of the residents of Naperville – encouraging health and wellness, fitness, family time, and fun. The Foundation supports the mission of making recreation of all kinds accessible to everyone across the community, regardless of socioeconomic circumstances.

On Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011 Naperville Park District officials heard the good news for which they have been waiting for many months: the District has achieved national accreditation through the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA).

The decision was announced at the NRPA national conference in Atlanta following a formal hearing before the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA).

Naperville is only the second park district in Illinois to earn this distinction and the 104th nationally accredited agency in the nation; there are more than 10,000 recreation agencies in the United States. The Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies accredits a handful of park agencies each year that have completed a multi-step process involving a self-review by the agency, a site visit, and an evaluation and formal report by the Commission.

“We are extremely proud to bring this honor to Naperville,” said Park District Executive Director Ray McGury. “It’s an affirmation of our high standards and also an encouragement to continue bringing high quality recreation and parks experiences to our community.”

The Park District’s accreditation process began approximately one year ago and included an extensive self-evaluation by staff and a 5-day visit from CAPRA reviewers this past July. Maintaining the accreditation requires annual reports and 5- and 10-year reviews.

Park District staff members noted that the CAPRA process has helped them see the big picture, focus on long term goals and plans, review plans more regularly, organize documents so that they are accessible and useable, and collaborate more effectively with other departments and outside organizations.

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Our Mission
We provide recreation and park experiences that promote healthy lives, healthy minds and a healthy community.
 
Our Vision
To be a national leader in parks and recreation providing and promoting high quality experiences and facilities at a great value to our community.
 
Core Values
Health and Wellness, Environmental Education, Stewardship and Sustainability, Community Enrichment, Public Safety, Accessibility, Personal Growth and Enrichment.
© 2020 Naperville Park District