Therapeutic Recreation

Therapeutic Recreation offers programs for children, teens and adults with disabilities. During this especially challenging time, we strive to continue being a resource for our community through virtual programming and other ways to support individuals and families.
COVID-19 Update: For the latest information, please refer to our FAQ.

Our Mission

We serve individuals with diagnoses that​ include Autism Spectrum disorder, ADD/ADHD, Down syndrome, learning disability, mild to profound intellectual disability, traumatic brain injury, hard of hearing, visual or physical disability.​ 

To provide programs and services to individuals with disabilities that will:  
  • Enrich quality of life 
  • Meet community needs 
  • Enhance skill development 
  • Leisure education and recreation participation
  • Increase independence through individualized goals and objectives


 Winter Programs

Winter/Spring 2020-21 Programs (Jan-April)

Online registration is open! Virtual activities range from 6-12 week sessions, are offered for all ages and skill levels January 2021 Virtual Programs.pngand include free events like Social Hour, Book Buddies and Family Trivia, and Bingo. 

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Fall 2020 Programs

 Social Stories

Social Stories

Designed exclusively by our very own Therapeutic Recreation & Inclusion Specialist, Social Stories help to explain concepts like the Coronavirus to individuals with autism and early childhood age children and have garnered local and national attention from school systems and other organizations. Download, print, and share!


How Can I Stay Safe During the Coronavirus

I Can Exercise Safely Outside
earth day social story.png
A Social Story About Earth Day

 Our Staff

​​​​Therapeutic Recreation Programs employ full-time CTRS’s (Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists) and part-time paraprofessionals to implement programs and ser​vices. CTRS’s are professionals credentialed through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC). Part-time staff are paraprofessionals who assist participants during program activities, provide behavioral support and redirection, and assist supervisor with implementation of activities.

Meet Our Full-Time Staff:​

Shannon

Colleen Wittig, Recreation Services and Therapeutic Recreation Coordinator
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.​

KathyKathy Williams, CTRS, Recreation Supervisor

Kathy graduated from Virginia Wesleyan College with a Bachelor of Arts in Recreation and Leisure Studies with a concentration in Therapeutic Recreation. She was born and raised in Virginia Beach and started working for Therapeutic Recreation Programs as a part time staff in 1985. She is actively involved with other organizations that include Virginia Beach 4-H Summer Youth Camp  Program, Virginia Recreation and Park Society (VRPS), and Southeast Recreation Therapy Symposium. In her free time, Kathy enjoys spending time with her family and friends, being outdoors and exploring new places.

BillBill Parker, CTRS, Recreation Specialist II

Bill has a Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation from Longwood College. He has over 20 years of experience working in community parks and recreation, with the majority in Therapeutic Recreation Programs. Bill gained invaluable experience through jobs in mental health/substance abuse and residential treatment settings prior to employment with the City of Virginia Beach. He is a certified instructor in the Mandt System and teaches staff the relational and technical skills of this curriculum.  Bill enjoys spending time with his wife and two children and watching baseball/fast pitch softball. 

caitlynCaitlyn Hall, CTRS, Recreation Specialist I​

​​Caitlyn is a graduate of Virginia Wesleyan College with a Bachelor of Arts in Recreation and Leisure studies with an emphasis in Therapeutic Recreation. She is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS). She has been working/volunteering with children with special needs since high school and found her passion for the field of TR while volunteering with the Around Town program and in her internship at Norfolk TR. She started as a volunteer with TR Programs and then held positions as both an activity assistant lea​der and leader. She is also currently certified as a Water Safety Instructor and enjoys working with participants in the TR Learn-to-Swim programs. When not working, she enjoys going to the beach, playing soccer, cheering for the Auburn Tigers and the Atlanta Braves, and spending time with family, friends, and her dogs Beau and Honey (or any dog really).​

CaseyCasey King, CTRS, Recreation Specialist I​

Casey has a Bachelor of Arts in Recreation and Leisure studies with an emphasis in Therapeutic Recreation from Virginia Wesleyan College. He is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. He has been working/volunteering with children with special needs since his freshman year of college. He got his passion for the profession from his mother who was a CTRS at VB Psych. He has a background of working in a behavioral health setting as well as community recreation. He has worked part-time for Therapeutic Recreation Programs in all of their programs and was an All Camp Leader for Camp Explore. When not working, he enjoys going to the beach, watching & playing baseball, golfing with his dad, traveling, and spending time with his family & friends.​

Ashley Optiz.jpgAshley Opitz, CTRS, Recreation Specialist I
Ashley is a graduate of Temple University with a Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation. She is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Recreational Therapy through Temple’s online program. She is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. She has been working/volunteering with individuals with disabilities since her freshman year of college, interned with the City of Virginia Beach Therapeutic Recreation Programs, and worked as an Activity Center Leader prior to her current position. Her passion for the field stems from a desire to help people reach their full potential – and what better way to do that than through recreation and leisure. She also has experience working in a nursing home and assisted living community. When not working, she enjoys going to the beach, engaging in arts projects, playing basketball, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
Therapeutic Recreation programs promote community recreation and are not intended to provide behavior therapy interventions, tools, or techniques. Participants will be expected to manage their own behavior with minimal staff intervention and must have a desire to participate in programming. Participants requiring 1:1 assistance are welcome with their own assistant/attendant who serves as a volunteer and must adhere to department volunteer policies/procedures, including a criminal background check.