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The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department will recognize Evan Jorn and Adam and Rachel Rolf as the 2017 Douglas County Health Champions during a community breakfast from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. April 7 at the Community Health Facility, 200 Maine St. The event is open to the public and is part of the Health Department’s celebration of National Public Health Week, April 3-9.
Director Dan Partridge said Adam and Rachel Rolf and Evan Jorn are being honored for their significant efforts to model, encourage and promote health in the community. “These individuals exemplify what it means to be a health champion. They are inspiring residents of all ages and abilities to live active lifestyles through their volunteer work. We hope you join us in thanking them for their outstanding contributions to our community.”
About the honorees:
Evan Jorn began playing pickleball in 2007 at the Lawrence Senior Center with four friends, and then eventually with more friends at the East Lawrence Recreation Center thanks to word of mouth. In 2010, Jorn volunteered to become an official pickleball ambassador through the USA Pickleball Association. Since then, he has successfully advocated for more indoor and outdoor spaces to play pickle ball in Douglas County.
Jorn encourages people of all ages and abilities to be active and participate in pickleball. He provides numerous training opportunities for beginners and connects them to other beginners. He has compiled a list of more than 300 pickleball players and sends them information about when and where they can play pickleball, including tournaments. “It is so much fun to play that I never feel like I'm working out,” he said. “I want to go and play every day that I possibly can. I've never once had to drag myself out to play pickleball.”
Adam and Rachel Rolf started the Douglas County Special Olympics Young Athletes program in 2015, and they continue to direct the program, which includes recruiting community volunteers. It is a sport-and-play program for children, ages 2 to 7 years old, with and without intellectual disabilities. The program introduces basic sports skills like running, kicking and throwing. Children learn how to play with others and develop important skills for learning.
The Young Athletes program also provides a network of support for families with children who have special needs. “We saw this as an opportunity to get involved and create a program in our area that would be beneficial for our son and for other children and families,” Rachel Rolf said.