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Portland Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

Phone: 503-823-7529

1120 SW Fifth Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

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Fitness Enthusiast Designates Portland Parks & Recreation Rx Play Program to benefit from Fitness Milestone

Celebration of 1000 Classes

(Portland,OR) –

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R)’s Rx Play program (for youth aged 6-12) will benefit from donations organized by a dedicated supporter, Susie Desmond. The retired teacher and Northwest Portland fitness enthusiast has chosen Rx Play to benefit from voluntary donations as she closes in on a milestone: her 1000th Barre3 fitness class.

On Saturday, November 15, Barre3 studio (1000 NW Marshall St) will accept donations for the Rx Play program at their 12:45pm drop-in class – which will mark the 1000th class Desmond has taken at the exercise studio. All donations will go to help children (who receive referrals from a doctor) take advantage of active recreation within PP&R. Advance class registration is available; please contact Barre3 instructor Kelly at Donations are also welcome without class participation.

WHAT: Donations to benefit Portland Parks & Recreation’s Rx Play program

WHERE: 1000th Barre3 fitness class for Susie Desmond - 1000 NW Marshall

WHEN: Saturday, November 15, 12:45pm

Please register in advance with – only 25 total spots are available, suggested donation of $20. Donations also accepted without class participation.

“I learned about Portland Parks & Recreation’s Rx Play and thought, hey, that’s my kind of thing,” says Desmond. “We need to be active and take care of ourselves, and we need to help kids to become more physically active and all the things the program is doing. I’m excited to help Portland Parks & Recreation grow the Rx Play program.”

Desmond says she has improved her physical condition over the four years and is enjoying a much healthier lifestyle as she closes in on completing her 1000th class at Barre3, a combination of yoga, dance and cardio.

“I’m a person who was left out of team sports, and laughed at because I have two left feet. But I’ve had great success at Barre3.”

Many young people have also had success with the Rx Play program, which has been active since 2008. Rx Play works via physician and health care referrals. Doctors, including pediatricians, “prescribe” exercise to patients whom they believe will benefit from regular exercise.

“Rx Play is designed to create a bridge between medical professionals who are encouraging regular physical activity, and Portland Parks & Recreation’s community-based recreation systems,” says Sue Glenn, North Zone Manager for Portland Parks & Recreation. “Our citywide recreation centers, classes, camps, parks and facilities offer close-to-home physical activity opportunities for youth between the ages of 6-12 years in the Rx Play program…and, of course, people of any age. The goal is to help close the ‘play gap’.”

Through Kaiser Permanente, OHSU’s Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, NCNM and several school-based clinics, prescriptions are issued for youth (ages 6-12) to enroll in one of the many active recreation programs that PP&R provides. The prescription is also sent to PP&R to facilitate the transition between referral and action. A Portland Parks & Recreation staff member, who is fluent in Spanish, makes an outreach call to the child’s family to facilitate registration. There are a wide variety of active recreation options available through Portland Parks & Recreation community centers and programs.

Scholarships are available for those who need assistance, which makes Susie Desmond’s help much appreciated as a welcome and tangible gift to others.

“Portland Parks & Recreation simply could not do what it does without people like Susie,” says Portland Parks & Recreation Director Mike Abbaté. “PP&R benefits from nearly half a million hours per year from volunteers. It is community efforts and stewardship - such as what Susie has worked to deliver - that help PP&R make a real difference in people’s health and lives.”

The November 15th Barre3 class is limited to 25 drop-in participants. No club membership is required and all donations received will go to the Portland Parks & Recreation Rx Play program. Those wishing to take part are asked to consider donating at least $20 - the standard rate for the class.

Registration is limited to 25 people but is open in advance: please contact Barre3 instructor Kelly at

“When I heard about Rx Play, I just thought, ‘they get it’”, adds Desmond about Portland Parks & Recreation and its partners. “My experiences in public schools and in life have taught me it’s our responsibility to share knowledge, and to try and make a difference for others in their lives.

“To that end, Rx Play is a perfect fit.”

History of Rx Play

Planning for the Portland Rx Play project began in the fall of 2008 when the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (ORPD) staff began working in the Portland metropolitan area to develop a project addressing a recommendation in the SCORP report that identified a need for Oregon's recreation providers to work with the medical community to get recreation participation information into medical offices and physicians' physical activity referrals.

The Oregon Parks & Recreation Department (OPRD)'s role in the Portland Rx Play project had been to identify key partners, provide overall project management and fund the pilot project research component. Founding project partners included Portland Parks and Recreation, Kaiser Permanente, Legacy Health System, Clarendon-Portsmouth School Health Center, Multnomah County Health Department, and the Oregon Health and Science University.