Parks and Rec. earns award for therapeutic programming

The Department's “Bow Wow Bakery” earned recognition from the New Jersey Recreation and Park Association (NJRPA).

On May 19, the Moorestown Parks and Recreation Department received the Jacquie Stanley award for Excellence in Therapeutic Programming for “Bow Wow Bakery” from the New Jersey Recreation and Park Association (NJRPA). NJRPA was founded in 1928 and awards New Jersey’s outstanding Recreation and Park agencies for excellence in programming, publicity and facility design. Theresa Miller, director of the Moorestown Parks and Recreation department, and Cynthia Roberts, assistant director, accepted the award.

Bow Wow Bakery is a partnership with Moorestown High School’s “Structured Learning Experience/Workplace Program,” a vocational transition program for students who are multiply disabled. Students range in age from 14 to 21 and provided transportation to the Community Kitchen at the Recreation Center two to three days per week. Dog biscuits are made from human grade ingredients and are egg-free. The students are able to produce more than 300 biscuits per week.

Some high school students in the vocational program work in the community with a job coach. This is where Bow Wow Bakery played a key role — by building a foundation of employable skills for more challenged students at their own pace. The components of working at the bakery teaches the logistics of getting to work, structure, managing time as well as providing occupational therapy — hand strengthening, balance, motor skills and hand eye coordination.

Bow Wow Bakery dog biscuits found their way into local, Moorestown businesses — from the Moorestown hardware store to hair salons to a tennis club. What began as a simple partnership with the high school blossomed to connect the township, the public school system and private businesses through their support of the program.

This award is a testament to the dedication, hard work and passion of the entire staff.