Help us reach more park lovers! Forward VBPRF News to friends and encourage them to subscribe!

11 community communication boards are installed

When Ashley Causey brought her “passion project” to VBPRF last year for help in making it a reality, the nonprofit quickly pledged its support.

After all, projects like Causey’s Community Communication Boards are the types of initiatives the Foundation supports through its Parks Plus program. It’s always looking for meaningful ways to enhance the city’s recreation environment through donor-funded projects.

A speech language pathologist and owner of Speech at the Beach, Causey saw first-hand the need for communication boards at local playgrounds to help children who are nonspeaking or have speech difficulties feel included by providing a way for them to express themselves.

She partnered with Smarty Symbols, a company that provides communication accessibility through a variety of visual support materials, including playground boards. Causey started raising funds for the boards and then approached the city’s Parks & Recreation division about placing them at playgrounds throughout the city. VBPRF soon joined the initiative.

That first board, installed at Beach Garden Park, is sponsored by Solobo, a Montessori-inspired educational toy company owned by Daniel and Courtney Peebles. The couple, former Virginia Beach residents who now live in Williamsburg, are both neurodivergent. Causey’s communication board project dovetailed perfectly with Solobo’s mission: to support the neurodiverse community and advocate for inclusivity. A portion of every Solobo order goes to a worthy cause.

The Peebles visited the park Sept. 26 with their sons Stone and Oliver (pictured above), posing for a photo by the board with Causey, VBPRF President Barbara Duke and Recreation Supervisor Leigh Henniker.

You'll find the other 10 Communication Boards at: Mount Trashmore - Families of Autistic Children in Tidewater (FACT); Woodstock Park - Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters; Red Wing Park - Aid Another; City View Park - United Way of South Hampton Roads; Munden Point Park - Sentara Therapy Centers - Pediatrics; Lynnhaven Park - Towne Bank; Plaza Northgate Park - Kroger; Bayville Farms Park - Tidewater Autism Society; Kempsville Recreation Center - VBPRF/Speech at the Beach; Bow Creek Recreation Center - United Way of South Hampton Roads.

Check out the local coverage this project has garnered on WTKR-News 3 and in The Virginian-Pilot!

Thank you, FACT!

Representatives from the Families of Autistic Children in Tidewater (FACT) joined Ashley Causey, VBPRF board members Barbara Duke and Claire Yoder, recreation supervisor Leigh Henniker, and the team from Parks and Landscape Services – Lifecycle Division on Friday morning, Sept. 30, to check out the Communication Board by the Kids' Cove playground.

Thank you, Tidewater Autism Society!

Representatives from the Tidewater Autism Society joined Ashley Causey, VBPRF board member Claire Yoder, and recreation supervisor Leigh Henniker to look at the Communication Board at Bayville Farms Park. All 11 boards have been installed by Parks and Landscape Services - Lifecycle Division, doing a "great job," says Henniker.

VBPRF, along with Ashley Causey, will be meeting all the Communication Board sponsors at their boards this month for a photo opportunity and to give heartfelt thanks! Check out our Facebook page in the coming weeks to see the latest.


Annual VBPRF golf tournament a success!

Thanks to all the sponsors and participants, VBPRF's annual Fall Golf Tournament Sept. 8 was a big success! This support helps the Foundation provide funding for a variety of parks and recreation enhancements! Be sure to check out the photos in our tournament album!

A big thank you, also, to outgoing VBPRF President Susie Walston! Foundation Chair Mike Fentress (pictured at right) thanked her for her years of service and commitment to the city's parks and recreation department, as both an employee and a volunteer. Barbara Duke, former vice president, has been elected Foundation president.

Love parks?

Then, we've got a

board spot for you!

If you're passionate about parks and want to help enhance our city's great parks and recreation system, please consider applying for a VBPRF board seat. Seven Virginia Beach residents currently serve as VBPRF directors but the board is interested in increasing that number.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, VBPRF is a separate entity from the parks and recreation department. With the mission of "Making a Great Community Better," VBPRF provides financial assistance for a variety of programs not funded by tax-payer dollars.

Interested in joining this board? Contact VBPRF President Barbara Duke for details.

School lessons are going swimmingly!

There's more than book learning taking place at six elementary schools this fall.

Thanks to the Students on the Swim program, second-grade students at participating Title 1 schools are receiving free Red Cross-certified swim lessons for two weeks during the school day. Lessons take place at nearby recreation centers.

The two-week program will be offered at the eight other Title 1 schools during the second semester, with additional schools included if instructors are available.

Thanks to VBPRF, with support from generous individuals and companies, Students on the Swim provides this important training every school year.

Click here to donate and for more information about SOS.

Suits and caps needed!

The city's aquatics division held a swimsuit and swim cap drive in August, collecting 76 girls and 44 boys suits, along with 35 regular swim caps and six large ones.

According to SOS Coordinator Carol Fernheimer, however, additional donations are still needed, especially for swim caps that can accommodate long hair and braids. If you'd like to donate a suit or cap, contact Carol at [email protected] or 757-385-0449.

Mary's rack installed!

Three still available

When Mary Prier, parks & rec marketing manager and VBPRF staff liaison, passed away suddenly last summer, it was only fitting to honor her memory with a Bike Buddy rack. After all, she was a catalyst behind the program and a huge lover of the oceanfront.

Funds were raised by friends and colleagues and her rack is now in use at 17th Street and the Boardwalk. Three racks in the set are still available, though!

Sponsoring a rack is a highly visible way to get exposure for your business or commemorate a loved one! Just call 757-377-3436 or click here for details.

Shirt sales benefit VBPRF programs

You'll find seven designs in VBPRF's online shirt store, with more to come later this year.

All the designs celebrate the city's parks, as well as specific events, with styles ranging from short-sleeve t-shirts to hoodie sweatshirts, all in a variety of colors.

Buy your favorite online! Proceeds from shirt sales benefit VBPRF and the many great programs it supports.

Mark your calendar for these upcoming events!

Saturday, Nov. 4: Autumn in the Air, noon to 5 p.m., Mount Trashmore (proceeds from beverage sales benefit VBPRF)

Thursday, Nov. 16: Bike the Holiday Lights, Virginia Beach Boardwalk (starting at Rudee Loop) Additional details to come


What's VBPRF all about?

If you're wondering why a city department like Parks & Recreation needs a Foundation, the answer is simple: to help meet needs that aren't funded by taxpayer revenue.

The Foundation was created as a 501(c)(3) organization in 2004 and its mission is to raise funds to enhance programs like the ones listed below, as well as to assist with other park enhancement needs like signage, special equipment, pump tracks, etc.

Your donation to the VBPRF helps keep Virginia Beach's parks and recreation system one of the best in the country!
Want to get involved? Learn more about some of our programs (below) and find out how you can help.
Just click here to volunteer!

Bench Buddies

Tree Buddies

Bike Buddies

Parks Plus


Community Care Fund

Private citizens serve on the Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation Foundation Board and they meet regularly to discuss, plan and help implement park needs. Serving in 2023 are: Barbara Duke (president), Mike Fentress (chair), Ron Kaufman (treasurer), Claire Yoder (secretary) and directors Joyce Hearn, Karen Beardslee Kwasny and Pete Striffler.

Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation Foundation
PO Box 64342 | Virginia Beach, VA 23467 | [email protected] | 757-377-3436
Facebook  Linkedin  Instagram  
The Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that exists to support the Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation Department by raising funds, accepting gifts and providing other resources to enhance existing programs, services, facilities and technology.
Member of the National Association of Park Foundations