top of page

Billy Blake, CTRS

Recreational Therapist

Billy was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. He comes from a hard-working family that values family, friends, and fun. Throughout his younger years, Billy spent time with his family participating in sporting events and playing the piano at recitals. With an active upbringing, Billy grew into a caring and dedicated professional. His career started in 2001 as a Special Recreation Leader for the Chicago Park District. His position was only supposed to be a six-week summer job, but that quickly changed when he found his passion. As the only male staff member for a program of over 200 Special Recreation clients, Billy knew this was his passion in life. He attended Moraine Valley Community College for his associate degree while working and coaching Special Olympics. Billy continued working full time for the Chicago Park District while studying for his Bachelor of Science degree in therapeutic recreation at Chicago State University. In 2006, Billy earned his Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist (CTRS) and the sky was the limit.

In 2010 Billy met his husband, Denis. The funny story about these two is that they played football against each other in grammar school. Denis knew Billy’s family since his early childhood days. Denis played football with Billy’s cousins on his mom’s side in grammar school and cousins from Billy’s dad’s side in high school. When these two met, it gave true meaning to the phase “the Southside of Chicago is a very small area, and we all know each other in some shape, way or form.” Married June of 2016, Billy and Denis made a life for themselves. They have an 11 year old Pitbull Shepard named Sarge, who tends to think he is human himself, and Nutmeg, a 12 year old cat, who thinks she runs the show. Billy and Denis love to entertain and bring family and friends together year around. Family and neighbors know if the garage door is open, stop in for a “pop.” *Hint-hint, the door is always open to family, friends, and neighbors.* During their free time, they enjoy traveling to New Orleans, Las Vegas, Nashville and Fort Meyers. Both enjoy live music, family, friends, and good company.

As a CTRS, Billy has had the opportunity to work with clients in a vast variety of settings. After 12 years of working in Special Recreation, Billy went on to work in Behavioral Health for 5 years, and then spent the last 10 years working in Senior Living. While working in both Behavioral Health and Senior Living, Billy developed a passion for caring for people living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Having earned two specialty certifications (CADDCT and DCC-CI), Billy continues to be an advocate, educator, and trainer for staff working with Alzheimer’s and Dementia clients. Billy loved working in senior living, but his heart still drew him to Special Recreation. Billy is beyond ecstatic to return to his roots and join New Leaf Recreation. His skills, dedication, and passion will bring so many new opportunities to the clients he serves and will serve in the future. Billy lives by his favorite quote on a daily basis: as George Bernard Shaw once said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” SO, LET’S GO PLAY!!

Billy Blake, CTRS
bottom of page