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Rating: 4.97 stars   67 reviews 2,454

Nonprofit Issues:


380 Washington St. Oakland CA 94607 USA


To improve the health and well-being of children by increasing opportunities for physical activity and safe, meaningful play.

Target demographics:

Direct service: low-income elementary schools Training: all schools and youth organizations

Direct beneficiaries per year:

130,000 directly

Geographic areas served:

We serve low-income schools in urban cities around the country through our direct service program. Playworks Training provides training and technical service to adults who work with schools around the country.


Direct service which provides a full-time, trained and supervised coordinator at each school providing five components (recess, class game time, junior coach leadership development, out-of-school programming, and interscholastic leagues) to the school. Our Training department provides four training options to schools, school districts and other youth organizations: recess implementation, recess 360, out-of-school time series and workshops energized.

2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Reviews for Playworks

Rating: 5 stars  

Playworks mission and the people in the organization driving that mission are simply fantastic. There is an incredible passion for the organization, the people, and the kids it serves that I have not seen at other organizations. Most impactful to me was the opportunity to visit a Playworks school and see the program in action. Not only were the kids engaged, positive, able to resolve conflict on the spot without adult intervention, and having fun but they even invited me to play in one of their games!
Playworks is doing great work in the Pacfiic NW!

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

This is an incredible nonprofit that makes a difference every single day in the lives of so many children. The structured recess has significantly reduced the number of incidents of bullying and given children an environment that encourages meaningful interaction with each other. By allowing older students to assist in running the programs as junior coaches, it also provides an opportunity for those students to develop leadership skills that will be beneficial far beyond the playground.

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Rating: 5 stars  

This organization is terrific, and has a very important mission. Safe, active play is imperative for our elementary school kids, and Playworks highly motivated and energized coaches and staff ensure that it happens -- all while creating a statistically significant increase in classroom focus and reading comprehension. What's not to love?

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Rating: 5 stars  

Playworks is a great organization! The coaches are upbeat, energetic, and work with the kids each and every day.
It’s all about keeping recess fun while teaching kids how to resolve conflict, share, and enjoy physical activity.
It prevents bullying and boosts self-esteem. Playworks also teaches leadership skills to the junior coaches selected from the students.
Administrative overhead is low; the majority of funds go to play the coaches for the schools.

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Rating: 5 stars  

The impact of Playwotks Colorado is exponential! The junior coaches turn into confident leaders. The parents experience an amazing change in their children not only at school but in their home. The teachers look into a classroom of more willing learners...children who are ready and more capable to learn after an exciting and structured recess full of exercise. Principals oversee an entire elementary school of children who are more focused on studies, respect each other, and know how to resolve conflict peacefully amongst themselves. The community benefits from having a grade school with a Playworks program...a sought after program that increases enrollment in their schools and brings growth to their area.

We see smiling faces, hugs, pride, happy kids, confidence, and tons of healthy play when we visit a Playworks school.

When we ask how Playworks has impacted the children...particularly the junior coaches...we see tears of joy and hear amazing stories of growth.

Our hope is to share this experience with more communities, schools, families, and especially...children.

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Rating: 5 stars  

My name is Stephanie Syner and I am a board member for Playworks! I became passionate about this organization after watching my son serve as a junior coach. Playworks gave my son a super power that he was able to use to become more of a leader with his peers. Before Playworks he was intimidated while interacting with some of his peers. Playworks gave him the tools to confront his peers demonstrating negative behavior in a positive manner. These tools have continued to lead him in the right direction 4 years later. I sit on the board to ensure other young people get the same opportunity and we continue to grow this program throughout all schools in Denver.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Playworks lives by the value of giving far more in service than expected. As a board member I am consistently awed at the high level of service our coaches provide to our community youth. Even more than that, I am consistently awed by the highest levels of professionalism of the executive and administrative staff of the organization. I know that my donation is working as hard as possible to serve our community when I give to Playworks.

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Rating: 4 stars  

Play works is a fabulous program that teaches kids to be active. They include in their program problem solving skills that help kids work through issues that arise during recess time. Kids have a lot of fun and learn to include others in any game they are playing. The first year we had Playworks at our school, we moved into a new school and we didn't have our playground installed until a couple months into school. I was very worried about kids not having anything to do and I was worried that without the playground equipment there was going to be a lot of problems. Playworks was all we had for recess time. What I witnessed were kids being active, having fun and including others and we didn't have any office referrals until a couple months later when the playground equipment was installed. I have seen the benefits of how PLAY does WORK when kids are taught problem solving skills and how to all play together.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have been associated with PLAYWORKS for 4 years as a school district administrator and for the last year as a Board member. As an organization, PLAYWORKS excels in executing their vision and mission to bring out the best in every child through play. We have data to show dramatic improvements in recess behavior as tracked through Office Disciplinary Referrals, and improved school wide behavior as measured by PBIS SET data. All students learn conflict resolution strategies in context, and the opportunities provided to Junior Coaches for leadership training are superior to any I have seen. The PLAYWORKS Executive Director leads this non-profit with passion and skill, and constantly seeks opportunities to grow the organization, build connections, expand services and include diverse groups. School-based Coaches (often Americorp personnel) are well-trained, well-supervised and very effective.

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Rating: 5 stars  

They are at our school and we have LOVED them. I don't know what we would do without them and the coaches they provide at our school. Thank you Playworks...you are the best!

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