The President’s Award: Mark Kelly
Mark Kelly’s passion is to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities and their families, and to build stronger communities.
In his 18th year as the Director of Special Needs for the City of Newton’s Therapeutic Recreation program, the number of athletes, program offerings, fundraising and corporate sponsorships have all grown exponentially. Currently, the year-round program serves over 300 athletes with disabilities in Newton and the surrounding communities.
Mark oversees Camp Echo Bridge, which has been featured nationally on NBC. He has transformed the camp into an inclusive model that embeds academics, which has brought about an 150% increase in participation and staffing levels. Mark initiated the Counselor-in-Training leadership program and supervises a week-long overnight camping trip.
He has extensive knowledge directing large-scale special events and is the race director of Newton’s Paddy’s Road Race, which welcomes over 2,700 participants each fall and features a 3-mile race, 1K All Abilities race and youth field races. Mark also co-directs the Kevin Clancy Basketball Tournament, which welcomes over 400 Special Olympic athletes from across Eastern Massachusetts. He initiated the Boston Marathon and Falmouth Road Race charity teams for Newton Athletes Unlimited, the non-profit that supports the City of Newton’s therapeutic recreation programs.
When it comes to therapeutic recreation, Mark believes the benefits are truly endless – for all those involved including athletes, coaches, volunteers and families.
Prior to his work in Newton, Mark served as a Recreation/Special Needs Coordinator for the City of Waltham and worked as a Development Coordinator for the Massachusetts Easter Seals Society. Mark has a bachelor’s degree in Recreation Management from Colorado State University and holds a master’s degree in Special Education from Boston University. When he is not dying his hair gray, Mark enjoys shuffling endurance races near the back of the pack so that faster participants can feel good about themselves.
Mark lives in Hopkinton with his wife Cecilia and his daughters Caroline and Lauren.