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2018 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

106 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

Donor

Rating: 5

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?

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

1 Dafna M.

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

1 Shad D.

Client Served

Rating: 4

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.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

Advisor

Rating: 5

Playowrks is an integral part of our Positive Behavioral support plan for East Midvale Elementary. They teach our students how to be safe respectful and responsible. They also encourager prosocial behavior and skills that help to resolve conflict in a fun and exciting way.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Playworks has worked for years to bring active, positive play into schools across the country. Playworks is especially effective in environments where lots of bullying and conflicts can happen at recess, and not all kids have other outlets to expend energy outside of those precious few minutes at school. These skills help set kids up for an easier transition to the classroom, as well as teams and teamwork later on in life.

As a board member, I've been able to balance strategy with execution by partnering with our national leadership team to meet the increasing demands in the San Francisco Bay Area for our model. We've been fortunate to have experienced, bright staff who bridge the needs of our frontline coaches and families while also partnering with our board to drive initiatives forward.

Board Member

Rating: 5

at It is not uncommon to hear a school principle from a Playworks school say that the program is the core of their school culture, and the most valuable tool they have to create an environment where kids learn best.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

It is a privilege to serve on the board of Playworks. Playworks passionate focus on systemic change is inspirational, and the equally passionate testimonial from educators, parents and children is a strong testament to the program's impact.

1

Former staff

Rating: 5

I worked for Playworks and can't think of a more authentic, engaged organization. People who work here believe in what they do and it drives the connection to community and the difference in kids lives. Go Playworks!

Donor

Rating: 5

I feel great about donating to Playworks -- what an amazing organization and I am happy to support their mission to keep kids active and educate everyone about the value of play in children's lives. I am lucky to have corporate matching to double my gift. Thank you, Playworks, for all you do to improve the lives of our children!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was introduced to Playworks Arizona a few months ago. Had an opportunity to see the program in action at a school, and attended the breakfast event. Truly impressed with the team leading this organization, their genuine passion and best of all the results they produce in the schools. What I witnessed at the school was nothing less than impressive. In the few weeks since school started, the program was able to transform recess into a positive experience for all students. The Playworks program is a gift to the students, teachers, administrators an our community at large.

Beth129

Board Member

Rating: 5

I became involved with Playworks a few months ago after visiting a school and being blown away by seeing the work that coaches do every day. In order to learn effectively, children need safe, supportive and inclusive environments and Playworks not only reinforces those qualities on the playground, it helps instantiate them throughout the school. The data supports the impact that healthy play can have on children's lives and academic careers, but you can see it viscerally in the way that children learn to play foursquare together without fighting whenever there's a disputed call or the boost in confidence a junior coach gets by learning to solve problems in real time.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Before joining the Board of Playworks, I visited a school to see the program in action. It was a deeply moving experience. The school principal said Playworks had significantly improved the environment. Bullying had decreased and productivity was way up. I also met a Junior Coach who was empowered for the first time as a leader of his peers. He was clearly delighted to be developing new interpersonal and life skills. After seeing the enormous positive impact of this program, I just had to get involved!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Playworks is a key partner of Kaiser Permanente NW in our effort to promote a culture of health in schools through our Thriving Schools initiative. Research shows that active kids are healthier kids, that they experience a greater sense of well-being and that they do better at school. Playworks makes lifelong health possible for all kids through a focus on fun, inclusive physical activity during recess and after school. We have been excited to support their work and to see the excellent results.

Board Member

Rating: 5

All you have to do is visit a Playworks school to understand how meaningful and important this work is. Playworks acknowledges the power that play has to make kids feel happy, safe and important. It has been an honor to serve on the board. The more I know them, the more I love them.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Playworks helped to create dynamic culture change at recess and throughout the school day over the course of our three year partnership. As principal of the school, I saw a large reduction in behavior referrals from recess and lunch. More importantly, I saw students take the problem solving skills they learned during play and transfer them to situations throughout the school from interpersonal conflict to academic groups.

Since partnering with Playworks, I have been fortunate enough to help support their work as a Board Member. I have seen first hand the level of dedication their staff has to providing play and leadership opportunities to the children of Chicago and i have been continually impressed by the caliber of coaches they recruit year after year. This organization is a true gem in the education non-profit sector.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've had the opportunity to be a part of the Playworks organization for a while now and I continue to be amazed by the positive difference it is having in the lives of so many youth around the country. As a child, recess was always the highlight of the day. This organization has found a way to expand and enhance recess even further while teaching the youth of today valuable life and leadership lessons. Just a few days ago there was a Playworks hockey Jamboree in my city and if everyone had an opportunity to see the happiness and joy which illuminated from the children participating, the world would truly be a better place. I'm glad to volunteer for an organization as wonderful as Playworks, and I look forward to watching them continue to grow in the future.