Inclusion Support Services

Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation welcomes individuals of all abilities to participate in all programs and activities.
COVID-19 Update:  For the latest information, please refer to our FAQ.

heart-and-puzzle-pieces-autism.jpgApril is Autism Acceptance Month!

30 Days to learn about, respect and celebrate individuals on the Autism Spectrum. Our goal during Autism Acceptance Month is to promote inclusion and understanding of autistic individuals. 

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All programs offered by Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation encourage participation by a diverse population, accommodate those with varying abilities, and support diverse learning styles. When participants require additional support, our Inclusion Specialists develop accommodation plans and provide other assistance as appropriate.​

 Our Services

We offer reasonable accommodations to enable an individual's successful participation in our programs and services. To access this service, complete an​ Inclusion, Accommodation & Special Needs Request Form​ and email to​. Once we receive the request, an Inclusion Specialist will call you to obtain additional information and begin the process.

Inclusion, Accommodation & Special Needs Request Form

Is an accommodation required to participate in a program?

No, federal law prohibits us from demanding that you submit a request; however, it is important to realize that all participants (no matter what their abilities) are required to meet the minimum participation guidelines and desired behavior expectations of a program (check with the program’s supervisor to see what these are). An accommodation assists staff in creating an environment where the participant can have a successful and enjoyable recreation experience.

What are some common accommodations?

  • ​Use of adapted equipment 
  • Adaptations to program games / activities
  • Behavior management charts / individualized techniques
  • Use of visual aids
  • Partial participation 

​Do you provide a one to one staff?

No, this is not a therapeutic environment – depending on the program or situation, we may add a staff above ratio to ensure that all participant’s needs are being met.  Program and participant safety is our main concern.

 Our Mission

  • To provide services to the City’s diverse communities by assuring accessibility for all citizens to quality programs, public spaces and parks.
  • Increase social capital by connecting the citizens to their communities through shared investment in the creation and delivery of positive developmental experiences.
  • Support internal and external customers through consultation, bridging resources, promoting universal programming, inclusivity, youth development and utilizing volunteers.

 Our Staff

Colleen WittigColleen Wittig, Parks & Recreation Coordinator​

(757) 385-0444 | 
Received a B.S. in Recreation and Leisure Science with a concentration in Therapeutic Recreation from Montclair State University.  Colleen has over 39 years of experience in the field of working with individuals with special needs, 28 of those years in the field of recreation. She is a speaker and trainer on topics such as Americans with Disabilities Act, Creating Naturally Inclusive Environments, Behavior Management, and specific disability awareness. Colleen is currently pursuing her certification as an ADA Coordinator.  Colleen enjoys spending her free time with her family, listening to Jimmy Buffett, fishing and playing golf.

Dawn CandiaDawn Candia, Recreation Specialist II

Bow Creek & Seatack Recreation Centers | (757) 385-6256 | 
Dawn has been working with the special needs population since she was in middle school. She has worked day camps, Therapeutic swim classes and summer camps. For two years she worked for the VBCPS as a Teacher Assistant in a cross categorical class room. For the last 15 years, she has supervised Before and After School Programs and Summer Camps through Parks &Recreation, working closely with Inclusion Services to ensure all participants have the same opportunities. She is a trainer for Behavior Support , Universal Programming and Inclusion. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her three children and husband. She also enjoys couponing, scrapbooking and watching movies. “I try to Experience the Fun every day!”

Becky ForemanBecky Foreman, Recreation Specialist I

Princess Anne Recreation Center | (757) 385-6198 |
Becky earned a B.S. degree in Therapeutic Recreation from Longwood College. She has been employed in the field for 28 years in a variety of settings including residential treatment, inpatient psychiatric hospitals, and community recreation. She began her career with Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation in 2003. In her spare time, she enjoys doing home improvement projects, gardening, and working on her koi pond.

Jackie StrohkorbJackie Strohkorb CTRS, Recreation Specialist I

Bayside Recreation Center | (757) 385-5957 |
Jackie graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Recreation, Parks and Tourism with a concentration in Therapeutic Recreation from Radford University. She is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) and has worked with individuals with special needs for 14 years, 10 of which have been with the City of Virginia Beach. Her previous experience includes working in Psychiatric, Assisted Living and Rehabilitation centers. She enjoys spending time with my family and friends, traveling, going to the beach and eating. 

Crystal HayesCrystal Hayes, Recreation Specialist I

Williams Farm Recreation Center | (757) 385-2965 |
Crystal has a Bachelor of Science in Health Leisure and Sports Studies with an emphasis in Therapeutic Recreation from the University of Iowa. She has been fortunate to spend the past 16 years working with individuals and groups with various diagnoses and special needs, seven of those have been​ as an Inclusion Specialist with Virginia Beach Parks & Rec. Prior to working in the community recreation setting, she focused her skills on working with youth and young adults with psychological, emotional, and behavior disorders. She is currently certified as a Mandt Instructor for Parks & Recreation and enjoys facilitation and teamwork opportunities that help deliver quality services and programs. During her free time, Crystal prefers to stay on the go with family and friends, enjoying​ activities like running, paddleboarding, playing softball, teaching kickboxing, and volunteering with her son’s various activities.​

Jordan VaughanJordan Vaughan, Recreation Specialist I

Great Neck Recreation Center | (757) 385-5973 |
Jordan is a graduate of Old Dominion University, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Language Pathology/Audiology & Special Education. She has been working with children with special needs for five years, with her most recent experience being in Applied Behavior Analysis with individuals on the Autism Spectrum. She is a Registered Behavior Technician, specializing in High Functioning Autism/Asperger’s & ADHD. When Jordan isn’t working, she loves spending time (especially at the beach) with her husband Tony, stepdaughters Makayla & Brielle, daughter Amelia, and ​dog Dopey.

Brett Gordon, Recreation Specialist I
Great Neck Recreation Center | (757) 385-5973 | bgordon​
Brett has a Bachelor of Science from Longwood University. He has served as an Inclusion Support Staff and most recently as the Unit’s New Employee Orientation Coach. He is also the trainer for Teambuilding and Cooperative Activities. Brett brings extensive experience with inclusion, working with individuals with disabilities, and recreation programming. In addition, he has 4 years of experience as a ropes course instructor and a teambuilding trainer. In his off time, Brett enjoys spending time with family, playing sports, and surfing.

 Customer Reviews

"Overall, I have been very pleased with the care my son is receiving in the program. He had a private-duty nurse for several years, and I was hesitant to put him in a program with other, normally-developing children. But, he has flourished in the program, and I believe that the other children have also benefitted from having a differently-abled child involved in their activities. They all look out for my son just as much as the staff does. They have all taken the time to learn about my son's abilities and to figure out how to incorporate him into daily activities."
-Rebecca G.​​​​​​​​
Contact Information