Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department receives two awards at statewide park and recreation conference held here

Two Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department programs received awards at the Indiana Park & Recreation (IPRA) Conference & Expo being held Tuesday through today at the Grand Wayne Convention Center in downtown Fort Wayne.

The Fort Wayne parks department, which is hosting the conference, was honored for the following programs:

• Unwind Your Mind: People with early signs of dementia can attend classes and activities at the Fort Wayne Community Center that help give them a sense of competence, reduce depression and improve relationships with family members, a parks department news release said. Studies have shown that arts, crafts, computers and social activities help slow mild cognitive loss by up to 50 percent, the news release said.

• Food Service: The parks department provides about 100,000 free meals and snacks each year at its nine summer playground sites and four year-round youth centers, the news release said. Along with feeding children, the program teaches them about healthy eating and social skills.

The IPRA conference attracted more than 600 park and recreation professionals to Fort Wayne and includes more than 50 educational sessions for them, the news release said.