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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Playworks

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Camps, Children & Youth, Philanthropy, Philanthropy, Voluntarism & Grantmaking Foundations, Recreation & Sports, Sports, Youth Development Programs

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

Target demographics: We are changing school culture by leveraging the power of safe, fun, and healthy play at school every day. We create a place for every kid on the playground to feel included, be active, and build valuable social and emotional skills.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Playworks currently serves more than 1,300 schools in 23 U.S. cities, and reaches more than 700,000 students directly and through professional training services.

Geographic areas served: Playworks is the leading national nonprofit leveraging the power of play to transform children’s social and emotional health.

Programs: Playworks partners with schools, districts, and after-school programs to provide a service or mix of services including on-site coaches, professional training for school staff who support recess, and consultative partnerships.

Community Stories

120 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

Playworks is an excellent organization that I have had the privilege of being involved with these past few years. Getting to see the direct impact they have on kids firsthand is truly special!

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

Playworks is a great organization that I've had the privilege of being involved with for the past year. Getting to attend school recess and witness the power of what these coaches do for their kids is truly special. The inclusion, empowerment, and social skills these kids get out of a Playworks program, at an age that is so important, is amazing and why I'm proud to be a part of such an impactful organization.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Since my first Get in the Game in spring of 2014, I knew the difference Playworks makes and was honored to be asked to be on the Board. Witnessing the positive impact with the students, the decision to get involved was an easy one. Social emotional learning for our students is key for their success, in and out of school. The ability to increase self esteem through healthy and safe play is a must! The Junior Leadership program has a huge impact as well. Excited to see the future with these young men and women before our future leaders!

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

Playworks is creating tomorrows leaders through play! Teaching leadership skills, conflict resolution and inclusion while making it fun for the children, and reducing bullying. What a difference they make to recess! All children deserve organized play to make learning more successful.

Dina Marie R.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Ever since Playworks started in Ferndale Schools recess has become a safe, inclusive atmosphere where kids help kids! The coaches and staff from Playworks always go above and beyond to ensure all students have the right to participate, play, and be a kid with a smile on their face! (Leaving the adults with smiles on their hearts!)

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Playworks is a non profit organization that puts PLAY back in the hearts of children and educators each and every day! Our district partnered with Playworks many years ago and the rewards & results for our students is priceless! I can't say enough about the pride, passion, and purpose that all Playworks staff put into each day!
Dina Rocheleau
Assistant Superintendent
Ferndale Public Schools
Ferndale, MI

Heidi Cooley

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a mother of two young girls, I believe in the power of play. Active kids are stronger learners so I appreciate the social and emotional skills that Playworks teaches our children during recess right here in Colorado. While enabling inclusive and engaging play (and reducing bulling on the playground), Playworks also teaches valuable life lessons such conflict resolution (hello rock, paper, scissors) and leadership (junior coaches are the coolest). I enthusiastically support Playworks in touching more kids in more schools in our communities.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am a new Playworks board member but have been involved with this organization for a number of years. I am most impressed with the ability of Playworks in helping kids discover their leadership potential. I am looking forward to a deeper connection to this organization and how we can bring more play to our community!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I volunteered in the past for this organization, as a recess volunteer. It was such an amazing experience. I've also participated in several of their past fundraising events and am now a board member. The programs they provide to kiddos and organizations that believe in power of play are incredible.

Board Member

Rating: 5

My first encounter with Playworks was on the ground as a coach at a K-8 school in East Oakland, California. Even as someone who loved recess and P.E. as a student and considered the experience positive, Playworks transformed my understanding of what effective recess and class game time could be. Using the Playworks playbook, I was able to quickly and effectively implement a program that promoted physical play, inclusion, cooperation and outright fun. The magic of Playworks was evident when I observed previously unruly students becoming compliant, self-described "non-players" leading games and the sheer joy on the faces of everyone on the school yard, from young kindergartners to near-teens. And kids went back to class ready to learn - what a double-win! Playworks definitely works and every school should be lucky enough to experience Playworks!

Advisor

Rating: 5

Playworks may sound fun (and it is!), but they take their mission seriously! The impact of their programming on the social and emotional wellness of the children they reach never ceases to amaze me. I've supported Playworks for more than a decade in a variety of capacities and believe they have tremendous untapped potential left.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

Playworks is the leading nonprofit in our community leveraging the power of play to
transform children’s physical and emotional health. Their passion, programming and purpose extend their reach well beyond the schools where they create a place for every kid on the playground to feel included, be active and build valuable social and emotional skills.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Playworks for almost 6 years and I cant recommend the experience enough. I had long looked for a nonprofit to be involved with and when I came across Playworks and saw how they were working daily, nationally to change kids lives through play I knew I had found the volunteer organization I was looking for. I first participated in recess at Playworks schools, then joined the NY/NJ regional board, and then finally the national board. I see firsthand how the hard work of all the Playworks professionals changes trajectories for children.

Liz M.8

Board Member

Rating: 5

Playworks is about more than just increasing physical activity opportunities for kids in our communities. Playworks provides opportunities for kids to develop leadership skills, learn and practice inclusivity, be proactive in creating kinder communities, and learn effective problem-solving skills. Furthermore, Playworks has an impact on schools that transcends recess, and provides tangible benefits to teachers in the classroom, including but not limited to more effective and efficient transition periods, decreased disruptions, and gained teaching time.

Board Member

Rating: 5

My team and I have seen the impact that Playworks has on our local community. We have volunteered at recess and youth sporting events and through these experiences it was evident how much of a positive impact these programs have on the children they serve. We have even conducted a playground beautification and seeing the results has been so rewarding.

Lisa409

Board Member

Rating: 5

First class org, great leadership, great outcomes.

Previous Stories
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Board Member

Rating: 5

Playworks is doing amazing things to make sure that every kid has play in their life. And they have big plans to do more. Fantastic organization, amazing leadership team and a mission everyone can get behind!

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Jeff B.8

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have donated repeatedly to Playworks (both regional and national) directly and through my company. They provide an amazing service to elementary schools and students, and I believe it is a great return on investment for donors. A Playworks-powered school sees a drop in bullying of 50% and readiness-to-learn after recess increases by over 25%. Given the small cost per student to administer the program, this is as good an ROI as I have found to improve educational outcomes and supporting Social/Emotional learning.

I liked Playworks so much, I have since joined the board of directors! :)

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

We need collaborative , inclusive community leaders. That's what Playworks does! Their junior coach program is amazing. Kids are trained to meaningfully contribute to their school community by being game leaders and culture keepers for younger students. They help their school have a great recess while they prepare to become our future leaders!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Playworks has served as an instrumental program in underdeveloped community schools (specifically in my Denver area). I have been invited to multiple service projects and observed recesses, and it's always nice to see full involvement from the children. Playworks continues to create an inclusive environment that promotes physical activity, as well as other desirable traits in these young school children. Overall the organization has my full support and will for the foreseeable future!

Board Member

Rating: 5

My son, Darius, was a junior coach in 4th grade, 7 years ago and I can still see the leadership skills he learned from Playworks being used in his daily life. I truly believe the value of play and the impact it has in the classroom and the ability to teach leadership skills on a peer to peer level. The value is continued to be seen as he continues his journey through life. I now sit on the board to ensure this non-profit continues to bring out the best super-powers of every kid through play and ultimately gives them the best opportunity in the classroom

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was introduced to Playworks Colorado when my son became a Junior Coach. Our lives were forever changed as I watched my son learn to use his super powers and become a great leader. I was compelled to get more involved in order to ensure every child has the same opportunity as my son. As schools focus more and more on academics, it is important to keep play and recess alive and use them as tools to create positive leaders. I am honored to sit on the Playworks Board and help this organization grow!

Board Member

Rating: 5

My first introduction to Playworks was at a panel where Jill Vialet and Angela Duckworth discussed the value and definition of 'play', most notably when dissecting why we don't consider work to be play. Wouldn't the world be a better place if we all felt as though work was 'play'?! Wanting to learn more about the organization and mission, I subsequently attended a site visit where I saw first hand the value and impact that the Playworks approach could have on children and schools. I won't lie, I was speechless as I watched 50 second and third graders navigate a recess, on a repurposed parking lot, exhibiting a combination of mutual respect, patience, and conflict resolution I don't believe I could have exhibited! As I have grown to know more and commit deeper to Playworks, I continue to be wowed by the mission, the approach, and the results in students both in real time and in their extended communities as they embrace what they learn and apply it in their every day lives.

Faye Blount G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization provides a critical service to children in our area. Teaching life skills and play at the same time - what could be better?! Having volunteered for several events, I have been able to see firsthand the benefits of these programs. While it is designed to provide a safe and fun environment for children, it also provides great rewards for the adults involved as well. Children can gain such self confidence and return to the classroom ready to learn.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Playworks is an incredible nonprofit that brings so much joy into children's lives. Not only that but it teaches kids teamwork, collaboration, and better ways for conflict resolution. The first time I witnessed Playworks at an elementary recess in action I was absolutely floored. Every child was playing and having a great time. But better yet there were no arguments, fights or disruptions. Quite literally, all ~100 kids were playing, laughing and smiling. It warmed my heart and I knew I was witnessing something special. This is an incredible organization and I highly encourage folks to check them out and support.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I first became acquainted with Playworks through one of their coaches. Outside of school and his working hours, he had constant and wonderful relationships with children and parents in my neighborhood. With every interaction, he fostered fun, reduced bullying and really brought together the community. That same enthusiasm outside of ‘work’ is multiplied even stronger at each of the schools Playworks’ serves. They transform playgrounds and have done so much to help kids be kids.

In a world and country so marred by hateful rhetoric and actions – Playworks works tireless to bring and develop civility for our next generations.

Paul L.2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Playworks works -- and in the best possible way! Their programs and approach are based on the best research, insights and experience gleaned from the past 20 years on play, children's health, and social emotional development. And it shows. Indeed, research has proven that Playworks programs deliver major positive impacts for students, teachers and the schools that work with them, which is rare in this field. And, they accomplish this through play, which is the foundation of how kids grow and learn. Finally, they are easy to partner with and great fun to work with. Fantastic organization, and I highly recommend.

Brendan H.1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Playworks is a wonderful organization that makes a meaningful impact on children and how they interact with one another. By focusing on how to resolve disputes, encouraging safe and active play at school and teaching stronger interpersonal and critical thinking skills, Playworks help children prepare to become responsible adults. Playworks efforts also help improve academic outcomes because children are better focused and ready to learn after coming off the playground feeling valued and energized. I love this organization and its mission!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Friends of Adaire brought PlayWorks to the Alexander Adaire K-8 Public School in Fishtown, Philadelphia, this year, and we're quite happy with the program so far. Playworks coaches have already helped Adaire students expand their repertoire of schoolyard and recess games, and it's been delightful watching rock-paper-scissors aka "Rochambeau" take over as the conflict-resolution means of choice among kids. The Junior PlayWorks Coaches -- Adaire 4th and 5th graders developing as play leaders thanks to PlayWorks guidance -- helped us celebrate the opening of our beloved new schoolyard, putting the PlayWorks imprint of improved play and guided recreation on display before media and politicians from throughout the city. We expect only better things to come from this fruitful partnership with PlayWorks!

camichaels

Board Member

Rating: 5

I'm excited to have just joined the Playworks Silicon Valley board. It's very empowering, rewarding, and incredibly fun for this group to focus on such a critical area of youth development. Play time needs to be valued for helping every kid grow, connect, and learn important fundamentals that will serve them well no matter what path in life they choose. I love seeing the kids' excitement on the playground as well as watching the leadership skills develop in the junior coaches. I look forward to helping expand the Playworks footprint as I believe every school, child, and parent can benefit from what Playworks has to offer.

Joni W.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was honored to be asked to join the Playworks Colorado board 1 year ago. i was drawn to the organization by their simple, but powerful mission: ensure that every kid engages in healthy play. The "powerful" part is self-evident the moment you step on to a school playground during a Playworks recess. These kids are all involved, all at play, resolving conflict among themselves. You don't see the random gaggle of kids off to the side. No loners. There is inclusion, organized play, laughter and energy. But the real magic comes when they return to the classroom ready to learn. When they become junior coaches, or go on to high school with confidence and leadership skills. Oh, and understand how to combat bullying. I can't say enough about the vision of this organization. Every kid not only deserves, but needs to play. It's literally life-changing. Join the revolution, bring play to your schools via Playworks!

Weston F.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Playworks lives its mission by providing students with safe, inclusive play at the schools it serves. Playworks is guided by an outstanding staff and coaches and is constantly showing how it will continue to innovate to serve students. Keep up the great work improving classroom productivity and creating a bully-free school climate.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Playworks has been a vital part of our transformation as a school. Not only do the kids now have complete ownership of our Playground, they take an immense amount of pride in being leaders on our campus. Each junior coach takes their role to heart and will often be found making sure they have adjusted their schedule and have everything ready to help their fellow classmates have a successful day on the playground. With the elimination of the words "you're out" and the addition of "good job nice try," even those students who have to get back in line and try again aren't discouraged and instead are excited to give it another go. Overall we have seen a decrease of conflict on the playground as a direct result of the implementation of the Playworks program. Under the direction of our site coach, this program has been fantastic for the overall structure and routines of all our recesses, an opportunity for kids to learn good sportsmanship, an opportunity for kids and teachers to participate in fun physical activities both as teams and individuals, and a fantastic leadership opportunity for our students.

Board Member

Rating: 5

This organization is amazing! Playworks is exactly what’s needed on all school playgrounds during recess. Healthy, safe, inclusive play makes a difference for all kids, and all students deserve this experience.

Being involved with Playworks has been fun!

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

I love Playworks and the amazing work they do for kids and communities. I wish we'd had this as kids.. play is an important part of learning and growing up and becoming a positive participant in society. Playworks helps kids develop healthy habits and positive relationships, and engage in fun play time experiences!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am so proud of all of the work Playworks is driving to encourage safe and healthy play on the play ground! I'm on the Board of a wonderful organization. Their mission of providing and promoting healthy, safe, inclusive play has become more critical in our society than ever before. My son is also part of this fantastic organization as a Junior Coach at Blackford Elementary for the last 3 years. He enjoys teaching “ro-sham-bo” to the Kindergarten and First grade to resolve conflict on the playground. He is learning leadership skills that will translate how he grows in school and life. I ask you to join in providing healthy play for all of our children across the nation! #Playworks rocks!
Consider Donating to Free Schools of Bullying!! https://www.playworks.org/

Board Member

Rating: 5

I work with many schools across Metro Detroit and over the years have seen a decline in access to safe, healthy play. I love that Playworks brings recess and physical activity back into schools!

Tiffany K.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

PlayWorks Colorado is a remarkable organization impacting our most vulnerable segment: youth. By teaching confidence building and conflict resolution, PlayWorks is allowing kids in Colorado the opportunity to healthfully work through and resolve issues with their peers setting up patterns for the rest of their life. The organization is integrated in the community, striving to increase their impact and reach.

Board Member

Rating: 5

As an elementary Principal I learned about Playworks and little did I know the IMPACT Playworks would have on my school family! The philosophy of Playworks goes hand in hand with our school family and this is how our partnership began! Once we partnered with Playworks the dramatic effects the program components had on our student population was mind blowing! Ever since that first year we started with Playworks I have become an advocate for Playworks. The intentionality of everything they do pays off! The ability to support a healthy school culture built with the necessity of safety, fun and play is what every school needs. For students to be included, accepted and empowered on and off the playground is essential for a healthy social and emotional development. As I moved from a Principal to a district leader we were able to bring Playworks to other elementary schools and share the principles behind Playworks with all staff. As an advocate of Playworks I know support them by being an active board member as well. I stand behind Playworks vision to make sure every child, every day gets to play in a setting of love, acceptance and understanding.
Wishing you well,
Dina Rocheleau
Ferndale Public Schools

Board Member

Rating: 5

When I think about the impact that Playworks has on our children, I am so proud to be a part of the organization. From developing young leaders on the playground through the Junior Coach Program, the conflict resolution skills, and inclusion - Playworks lays the foundation for successful individuals, regardless of their socio-economic status.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My children attended a high poverty, very diverse elementary school in Milwaukee. The first week Playworks piloted a program there, my children every night at dinner showed us all the games they learned.

Once Playworks came to the school, i saw firsthand how it strengthened the school environment. The parent teacher association chose Playworks as the one thing it raised money for through Friday night taco dinners. This was a school with over 80% free and reduced lunch so the fact parents supported this says a lot.

My oldest daughter who used to sit and read during recess began participating in activities and moving instead. My younger daughter who had never liked being in activities and programs loved it. She joined their no rules basketball league and volleyball league and loved them - the only sports she's played to this day. Two of my children were junior coaches and took it quite seriously. My son who could misbehave at times did not want to jeopardize his role and was super responsible about it. They loved running the games for younger kids.

I wish all schools had Playworks to engage kids in activity, prevent bullying, and engage kids as collaborators and leaders. I wish they had still had it in middle school!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am incredibly proud to be a part of this world class organization, one that values the need for play the same way that I do. Playworks is making a huge impact on kids all across this great country. I have seen for myself what they have accomplished and I believe their mission is one that we should all take notice of. The leadership in this organization are committed to making a difference and I for one am thrilled to be a part of it.