(Joplin, MO) – This summer, the Joplin Parks & Recreation Department will offer youth t-ball programs at the Joplin Athletic Complex.

The Youth T-Ball League is for children ages five and six and will begin on June 6 with games at 6:00 and 7:00 pm. Players will receive a jersey, hat, and trophy. The cost is $45 per player, and pre-registration is required by May 15. There is an early bird special for registrations that take place before March 31 at 11:59 pm. Those who register before this deadline will receive $10 off.

About Joplin Parks & Recreation

The Joplin Parks and Recreation Department provides quality parks, services, and programs to enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Joplin and surrounding communities. Learn more at


Lynn Iliff Onstot, Public Information Officer
City of Joplin
417.624.0820, ext. 204

(Joplin, MO) – Joplin Parks & Recreation is offering introductory sports programs for preschoolers this spring at the Joplin Athletic Complex.

Little Kickers Soccer is designed to introduce preschoolers to the sport of soccer. The program begins the week of April 4 and will be held on Tuesday or Thursday evenings, depending on which session the child is enrolled. The cost is $38/player and includes a jersey and an award. Pre-registration is required by March 21.

The four-week programs are focused on introducing young children, ages three to four years old, to the basic fundamentals of the sport they’re enrolled in. Through the use of drills and fun skill development games, the programs are focused on developing each child’s skills and self-confidence in a non-competitive atmosphere.

Joplin Parks & Recreation programs are open to all Four States residents. For more information, or to register, please visit or call 417.625.4750.

 About Joplin Parks & Recreation 

The Joplin Parks and Recreation Department provides quality parks, services, and programs to enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Joplin and surrounding communities. Learn more at

(Joplin, MO) – Registration is now open for the Joplin Parks and Recreation Department’s adult recreational sport leagues. Adults looking to get outside and have some fun this spring are encouraged to register for the Adult Softball and/or Soccer Leagues held at the Joplin Athletic Complex.

Softball leagues begin the week of March 20 and the soccer league begins on March 22. All players must be 18 years or older. First-place teams will receive a championship trophy. Softball team entry fee is $300; soccer team entry is $310. Softball registration ends March 13; soccer ends March 14.

Awards will be presented to league champions in each sport with tournament play at the end of the season.  All sports programs use officials and have established reputations for quality play.

For more information or to register, please visit or call Joplin Parks and Recreation at 417.625.4750.

About Joplin Parks & Recreation:

The Joplin Parks and Recreation Department provides quality parks, services, and programs to enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Joplin and surrounding communities. Learn more at

Joplin, MO — Healthy Joplin invites the community to join the kickoff for their Walking Groups Initiative on Saturday, April 2 at Mercy Park’s Shelter 1, located on the south side of the pond. In case of inclement weather, the event will move to the JCPenney’s Court at the Northpark Mall.

Festivities will begin at 9:00 am with a ribbon cutting and door prizes, which will be given away to those who have registered here. This event will allow fellow walkers to connect while giving those who are interested in joining a group a chance to learn about the program and its benefits.
The Joplin Walking Groups Initiative currently has seven walking groups. Anyone is welcome to join the group of their choice:

Freeman Wellness Walkers, led by Rhonda Bitticks
Neosho Community Wellness Walkers, led by Kayla Carter and Jennifer Smith
Wow City Walkers Downtown, led by Leigh Kelley
Wow City Walkers Landreth Park, led by Suzan Morang
• Walk with Ease with Freeman Advantage, led by Jamie Gilmore
Mercy Bari Bunch, led by Jennifer Mesiter

Joining one of these groups and walking for just 30 minutes a day can help control blood sugar, reduce the risk of heart disease, prevent osteoporosis, boost the immune system, control weight, improve circulation and breathing, combat depression, and manage arthritis pain. And walking with a group keeps individual accountable and ensures that everyone feels safe.

To learn more about Healthy Joplin, visit or visit their Facebook page. For more information on the Joplin Walking Groups Initiative, please contact

Healthy Joplin is a collaborative effort of local health agencies, individuals, and businesses passionate about improving the wellbeing of our community.

Joplin, Mo, — Active Lifestyle Events, ALE, a 501(c)3 organization devoted to promoting health and fitness in our community, presented a check to representatives of Healthy Joplin on Wednesday, March 16th at 12:30 p.m. The donation was funded by proceeds from the 2021 Joplin Memorial Runs.

Healthy Joplin is a collaborative workgroup created through a partnership between One Joplin and the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce. The workgroup is focused on Health and Wellness initiatives in the Joplin Community and consists of several teams, which include Walking Groups,, Workplace Wellness, and Healthy Kids. The donation will be used to paint professionally created stencil designs on sidewalks throughout the Joplin community including parks and walking trails.

The Joplin Memorial Run’s tag line is “Run, Remember, Rebuild”. The race is dedicated to remembering those lost in the EF-5 tornado that hit Joplin on May 22nd, 2011 and to supporting rebuilding efforts. Through the event, ALE has given over $200,000 to organizations such as Bright Futures, The United Way of SWMO, Rebuild Joplin, the Bill and Virginia Leffen Center for Autism, and Stained Glass Theatre.


JOPLIN, Mo. – “Isaac blossomed so quickly,” said Laurae Howard of her 7-year-old son, Isaac’s time at Bill & Virginia Leffen Center for Autism. Isaac is just one child who benefits from the funds raised by those who participate in the Freeman 5K and Walk for Autism which benefits Leffen Center.

The 15th annual Walk for Autism and Freeman 5K take place at 8:00 am Saturday, April 23 at Leffen Center (2808 S. Picher Ave.). On Wednesday, Freeman and Ozark Center officials announced a superhero theme for this year’s fundraising event.

“Your participation means the world to us, and without you, we simply couldn’t do what we do at Leffen Center,” said Paula F. Baker, Freeman Health System President and Chief Executive Officer. “Thanks to you superheroes, families don’t have to drive hundreds of miles to receive an autism diagnosis, and children on the autism spectrum are receiving life-changing therapy to help them lead their best lives.”

“Proceeds from the walk and run go to assist with program development and scholarships at Leffen Center,” said Edyth Spera, Leffen Center Director of Autism Services. “We provide one-on-one Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy to individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. We work individually with children and adults in sessions lasting anywhere from one to six hours, focusing on a variety of communication and language skills, early learning academic skills, play and social skills, eating, nutrition and reduction of challenging behaviors. Leffen also provides occupational therapy, speech therapy and diagnostic services.”

Howard said this approach to programming has made a big difference in her son, Isaac’s life.

“When he first came to Leffen Center, my son was non-verbal,” said Howard. “A couple weeks after he started coming, he was walking down the halls pointing to letters and saying their names. Being here with staff and therapists who know how to get that out of him has been amazing to watch. They love him just as much as I do, because they have put so much into him to help him grow and gain the skills that he has. It’s been so awesome.”

Runners and walkers are encouraged to break out their superhero costumes with capes, tights and other accessories as they join forces for this year’s event.

“We like to make this event both fun and educational for participants and families,” said Vicky Mieseler, Ozark Center Chief Administrative Officer. “This year’s event will include a vendor fair with information from local community organizations with services and supports. There will be autism awareness items for purchase and free giveaways for kids. We will also welcome food trucks.”

In 2021, more than $54,500 was raised to support Leffen Center and once again this year there are prizes for family teams that raise the most money.

“The third-place winner will receive a MARVELous pamper day,” said Mieseler. “Second place fundraisers win a DC Me Out-and-About package with various gift certificates for food and activities, and first place gets the X-tra Special Time Away package with a trip to Branson.”

Teams and individuals are encouraged to register in advance at or call 417.347.7850. 5K registration is $35 and includes a t-shirt. The one-mile walk registration is $15 for ages 13 and up and $10 for kids ages 3 – 12. T-shirts for walkers are available for $10 more. Racers can pick up packets on April 22 from 3:30 pm – 6:00 pm or on the day of the event from 6:45 am – 7:45 am.


About Freeman Health System
Locally owned, not-for-profit and nationally recognized, Freeman Health System includes Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ozark Center – the area’s largest provider of behavioral health services – as well as two urgent care clinics, dozens of physician clinics and a variety of specialty services. In 2022, Freeman earned dozens of individual awards for medical excellence and patient safety from CareChex®, a quality rating system that helps consumers evaluate healthcare providers. U.S. News & World Report named Freeman Health System the Best Hospital in Southwest Missouri for 2021. With more than 320 physicians on staff representing more than 90 specialties, Freeman provides cancer care, heart care, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, children’s services and women’s services. Additionally, Freeman is the only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in a 70-mile radius. For more information, visit

About Ozark Center

Ozark Center is based in Joplin, Missouri and has been an entity of Freeman Health System since 1996. It has been providing comprehensive behavioral health services to children, adults, and families since 1965 in an area that includes more than 450,000 residents from the Four States. Ozark Center continually looks for innovative ways to address the behavioral health needs of the community and promote awareness of behavioral health issues in an effort to eliminate the discrimination associated with it. For more information, visit or call 417.347.7600.


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