Volunteer of the Year – Lisa Sledge

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year: National Volunteer Month! This April, we’re celebrating all of our fantastic volunteers, and shining a special spotlight on our 2023 Volunteer of the Year, Lisa Sledge.

Lisa is a longtime park adopter with APF and an advocate for accessibility and inclusion in parks through her work with Friends of Therapeutic Recreation Services. She is also an integral advisor for the future All-Abilities Playground, which APF will be building at Onion Creek Metropolitan Park. 

Lisa has been the steward for Danny G. McBeth Recreation Center since 2017 and when PARD decided to add more rec. centers (Dottie Jordan Recreation Center and Alamo Recreation Center) in 2020, they renamed their Sponsored Funds Account “Friends of Therapeutic Recreation Services”. 

In 2023, Lisa received APF’s Golden Shovel Award for her volunteer efforts. Lisa has been a volunteer for years and organizes the annual Christmas party, sports banquet, nationally traveling sports teams and Art in the Park. She helps the adults in the program secure  and maintain job opportunities, handle their own finances and learn skills that help them to be more independent and socially attuned.

Lisa continually shines a light on all of the wonderful opportunities the rec. centers have to offer. Her dedication to serving others is a joy to witness, and we are so thankful that she’s part of the APF family!

Learn more about Friends of Therapeutic Recreation Services here.

Looking to get involved with APF’s volunteer efforts?

National Volunteer Month is a great time to explore Austin Parks Foundation’s wide array of volunteer opportunities. From It’s My Park Day to Open Workdays and Corporate Volunteer projects – WE’VE GOT THEM ALL! In 2023 alone, APF coordinated over 6,200+ volunteers in parks across the city.

It’s My Park Day:

It’s My Park Day is our city-wide volunteer event taking place on the first Saturdays in March and November! During each event, more than 3,000 volunteers tackle 75-100 projects across the city. These projects range from mulching trees, planting trees, trash pickup, trail clearance and much more. It’s My Park Day strives to get friends, neighbors and Austinites into the parks to make a difference and create relationships that grow. In 2023 we completed 177 projects with the help of 6,241 volunteers! This translates to more than $500,000 in saved labor value for the city with 18,723 total volunteer hours logged.

Not only do you get to make a difference in the parks – you’ll also receive a coveted It’s My Park Day t-shirt, discounts and freebies from local giveback partners, and you’ll have a great time bonding with your community. We just wrapped our Spring It’s My Park Day – take a look at all our volunteers accomplished:


Learn more about It’s My Park Day: austinparks.org/impd/

Open Workdays:

If you’re looking to volunteer regularly, our Open Workdays may be the option for you. Each month we host an open workday to improve a park, trail or green space. These projects are at various parks throughout the city and go a long way for the local community. Workday projects are similar to It’s My Park Day projects and may include mulching, trash pickup and planting. These projects are led by an APF staff member from our Programs team and allow volunteers an inside look at all we’re able to provide to our parks! Our Open Workdays are presented by Applied Materials.

Check out our upcoming Open Workdays: austinparks.org/volunteer/

Corporate Volunteer Day:

Want to  get out of the office and give back? A custom Corporate Volunteer project may be the perfect match! For a small donation of $25 per person, your team (30-100 participants) can enjoy a day outside as an APF staff member leads a project that supports access to safe and beautiful parks.

Donations cover the cost of materials provided by APF such as tools, mulch, gloves and more. 

For more information on how your company can get involved, contact Shannon Cunningham, Senior Corporate and Foundation Giving Manager, at shannon.cunningham@austinparks.org or visit austinparks.org/volunteer-businesses/.