Published On: February 12, 2024

Recreation therapy is an integral part of services within our Community Day Supports division. We are so fortunate to have five recreation therapists on staff as well as one recreation therapy assistant. Our RTs are Payton Chelmella, Alex Cheney, Rachel Reed, Gina Schulz and Jennifer Weber; our RT assistant is Nicole Scheive who is currently completing coursework to obtain her certification.

Recreation therapy is a healthcare field focused on helping people with potentially limiting conditions make the most of their lives through purposeful activity that addresses their needs and goals. Recreation therapy is person-centered, enjoyable and outcome-focused. Activities often break barriers (physical, emotional, cognitive or social) and can provide choices for each individual participant. Participants can include individuals of all ages and all ability levels.

Recreation activities can include arts/crafts, dance/movement, community outings, sports/events, spending time with animals, music and more. Activities help maintain the physical, mental and emotional well-being of participants through participation and socialization.

Gina and Tyler

Gina recently spent time with Tyler riding go-karts at Rascals Fun Zone. Tyler drove and told Gina “I love it! I love doing fun things!”

Gina and Tyler having fun on a roller coaster

Nicole and Adam

Nicole is close to completing her RT certification. She was drawn to RT because she wanted to help improve the quality of life for people with disabilities in a holistic manner.

Nicole loves to make each day unique for program participants and creates challenging goals. She and Adam recently spent time together reading, learning new things and telling jokes.

Rachel and Stacy

Rachel was drawn to recreation therapy because of the potential that it opened for participants. Each day is different and she loves incorporating the things that people enjoy doing to help them achieve goals.

When working with someone, Rachel listens to what they want to do and creates activities around those wants and interests. She loves creating opportunities for people to reach their goals and discover new interests.

Program participant Stacy loves spending time with Rachel. “I like the fun things that we do! When we workout, I get stronger,” said Stacy.

Rachel and Stacey enjoying an outing

Jennifer and Julianna

Jennifer loves running, riding her bike and hanging out with family and friends. She brings that enthusiasm to her job as a recreation therapist with the activities she and her program participants plan; she loves seeing the smiles on their faces from doing the things that they love.

Recently Jennifer and Julianna went shopping – something that Julianna likes to do. “I like getting Panda, shopping for new clothes and hanging out with Jennifer,” said Julianna.

Julianna after a shopping adventure

Payton and Ricky

Payton loves the opportunity to help people explore their leisure interests and gain the benefits that will last throughout their lifetimes. She challenges her program participants with games and activities while they plan and explore interests, which makes the goal setting fun.

“Seeing the looks of accomplishment on the faces of people after an activity makes me love my job even more than I already do,” said Payton.

Payton and Ricky smiling

Alex and Rachel

Alex learned more about recreation therapy from her brother while they were in college. She began working in the field as a volunteer; she loved it so much that she changed her major to become a recreation therapist.

She has worked with many individuals doing all sorts of things from working out at the gym, participating in water aerobics, playing board games and visiting a parade.

She and program participant Rachel recently did water aerobics. “I like that I can go out and do the things that I like such as working out,” said Rachel.

For more information about recreation therapy at Easterseals Crossroads, contact us.

Alex and Rachel swimming