Playworks Arizona Leadership Council | Playworks

Playworks for every kid

Playworks Arizona Leadership Council

Brion Crum -  President

Financial Advisor, Caliber

I joined the advisory council of Playworks because Arizona must make large strides in improving the educational system. Bullying has such an impact on all aspects of an impressionable child's development including the effect in classroom performance. Playworks will be able to play a role in helping improve our education system.

My favorite recess activity was kickball.

Anthony Casarona

Managing Partner, Casarona Law

I joined Playworks based on my belief that involvement in youth sports builds self-confidence, friendships, communications and leadership skills all of which will provide a strong foundation not just on the playground or playing field, but in life. Next to my family, nothing has had a more significant and lasting impact on who I am today than the lessons learned "playing" many years ago.

My favorite recess activity was always a good pick-up football game.

Scott Desantis 

Sales ManagerSerta

I joined Playworks because I want to help others.

Kickball was my favorite recess game.

Morgan DeWitt

Territory Representative, SolutionReach

I am proud to sit on Playworks' Leadership Council because I believe in the mission and the process. Recess is an important component of the school day where students learn lifelong social, leadership and conflict resolution skills. I'm happy to contribute my time to Playworks because I loved recess and I want to make sure that every kid gets to enjoy it as much as I did.

My favorite recess game is Double Dutch Jump Rope.

Pam Eggert

Partner, Eide Bailley LLP

I have wanted to find a way to get involved in the community and what better way than to get involved with kids and help their growth in a positive way!

Favorite recess game: I think I need to  go with foursquare!

Mary Gaudio

In grade school, I always hated kickball since I was one of the last people picked for the team. Unless, of course, my best friend was a captain, and then she’d usually take pity on me and pick me first! I enjoyed playing basketball at recess in 7th grade, as it was a distraction from the mayhem that occurred on the playground on a daily basis. I had finally found a core group of friends who shared my same fundamental interest—to stay out of trouble, and away from all troublemakers. Unfortunately, most of my friends moved out of the neighborhood before high school, leaving me to enter my freshman year at Carl Hayden High School without one good friend or protector.
The mission of Playworks really resonates with me. Beginning in about 3rd grade, I began to really fear the playground experience. I was a petite, smart, white (minority) girl with a mother who was very involved, known and respected by teachers. Thus, I was a teacher’s pet, and the object of some bullying. In 4th grade, I brought all my grandmother’s jewelry (unbeknownst to her!) and gave it away to my "friends." It was a form of currency. "I give you jewelry, you don’t beat me up on the playground." I think I told you the story of my classmates attacking my math teacher and setting the room on fire. It should be no surprise that I did not do well at math! By 9th grade, this straight A student was ditching school. I was terrified! Had my brother not been the target of a bullet on his way home from school in my freshman year of high school, we may never have transferred to Alhambra, and I shudder to think where I’d be today.

Christine Gonzalez

PMO Lead, CIS Replacement Program, APS

Why I joined the Leadership Council - I was fortunate enough to work closely with Playworks while I was at the Super Bowl. I was sold as soon as I saw Playworks in action at my first play date at Loma Linda J  I couldn’t be more thrilled to be part of this organization that is doing astounding things for Arizona. It is an honor to be working with inspirational staff to transform our youth’s physical and emotional health.

Favorite Recess Game:  Freeze Tag.

Play on!

Paul Gubin

Financial Consultant, Mass Mutual Financial Group

I joined because of the people in PLAYWORKS I met when I visited the Loma Linda school. I joined because I was made to feel welcome when I came to a board meeting. I joined because the Exec. Director was open to meeting someone he didn’t know, with the possibility his non-profit could raise money and awareness for PLAYWORKS. And I joined because when I was on the playground, the kids are just that….kids!

My favorite recess game was dodge ball.

Jeannie "JJ" Johnson-Bourdos

HomeSmart Elite Group

I am joining the Playworks family as a council member because I am thrilled about becoming a part of a program that can transform how our kids play and resolve issues. After visiting the Loma Linda school, I was amazed with the energy and smiles I witnessed. All the children were playing, and when play was over everyone was respectful in lining up. This program must reach every school in the United

Ann McSherry

VP Sales and Marketing, AZ BIG MEDIA

I joined Playworks because they are focused on empowering kids to be the best people they can be and to treat each other with respect. They are changing our future, one child at a time and I’m excited to be a part of that change.

My favorite playground game growing up was kickball. It is something that I still love to do, which is why I joined a co-ed team last year.

Danielle Preuss

Graphics, Insight

Devney Preuss

Vice President, Activation & Special EventsArizona Organizing Committee

I joined Playworks because I believe in the power of play! After having a chance to watch Playworks coaches transform recess into a positive playing experience for every student, I knew I wanted to join the movement. I immediately saw the value of the program, and the annual survey of school staff proves the incredible impact that Playworks has in the classroom, too. By creating a positive experience and sense of belonging on the playground, Playworks brings out the best of kids in the classroom.  I want to support the growth of this program into every school in Arizona that has a need for organized play!

Favorite recess game: Soccer

Tony Prutting

President, Prutting Insurance

I joined Playworks because I love to give back to the community. Helping children with a very big issue in their lives is exciting to me to help to find the solution.

When I was a kid I loved kickball and many other sports.

Brandon Ramsey

Community Developmemt Specialist, Microsoft

I joined Playworks because of their overall community impact and their proven program success. After seeing their program in action and provided with the statistics it gave me a greater understanding about how their program affects the lives of the children, schools, families and the community. I’m honored to be a part of a program that has such a significant impact.

Favorite recess game: Foursquare

Katy Reeve

PR Account Supervisor, Lavidge

My favorite recess game…

At my elementary school, we had a big map of the United States painted on concrete. We would play a version of tag where whoever was “It” would call a state. Then everyone would have to run to the correct state without getting tagged. We didn’t realize at the time we were learning while we played, but we had a lot of fun!

Matt Roumain

Business Development, ManageStaff

Playworks is part of the solution! It is an organization that affects the lives of many, both directly and indirectly. The lives of these students and their families, the school faculty and staff, Playworks’ employees and its volunteers, and the greater good are all made that much better through Playworks’ promotion of character, sportsmanship, hard work, leadership, and so much more. When I saw the difference Playworks made in the life of one child, I knew that I had to be active in spreading its message—and the chance to participate in the occasional game of my childhood recess favorite, red rover, isn’t too bad either.

Adam Saks

VP of Operations GM, Ultra Star Multi-Tainment Center

I joined the Council because I believe Playworks represents a proactive approach to childhood development. Children are our future, and I have always thought it best to give back in a way that will help future generations. Children need strong positive role models and our Playworks coaches embody that vision. They are not “teachers” per se, as they look at the educators around them; they are friends, mentors, coaches and guides for the difficult times and situations that all children have to navigate. Playworks gives children the strength and character to make a difference as they grow and share their ideals.

My favorite recess activity as a child was dodgeball.

James Svehla

DPR Construction

In a world becoming oversaturated with technology, it is important for the younger generation to take a step back and put down the controllers. Playworks creates a positive atmosphere for kids to learn conflict resolution and critical thinking through the power of play. Many of the lessons I hold most dear have been developed through both structured team sports and schoolyard play. I hope to facilitate an environment where kids can take advantage of these opportunities for years to come.

My favorite recess activity was going under center in a game of touch football.

Anne Turner

Area Sales Manager | ZMC Hotels

I'm so excited to be apart of such an amazing organization like Playworks. I remember recess being one of my favorite parts of the day because that was when I got to be outside with my friends playing games, laughing and socializing. It brought me so much joy as a child that I can only hope that it helps other kids like it did for me.

My favorite game at recess time was foursquare.

Chris Waters

Account Rep, Yelp

I joined Playworks because I believe that every child should have a fun, safe childhood and that the cornerstone of successful adulthood stems from great social interaction in childhood. Having a safe, fun structured recess is extremely important.

My favorite recess game was Medic Dodgeball. It is essentially just like regular dodgeball except when you get hit, instead of being out, you sit down until your team's medic tags you back in. The goal is to get the opposing team's Medic Out and then the rest of the team.

Mike Walther

Horizon Insurance

I have been involved with other children’s charities in the past and wanted to be reengaged in the community. As my own children grow up and attend new schools, they are exposed to the many positive and negative things on the playground which I hear firsthand on a daily basis. Playworks really hits home for me as it supports and develops ways to reduce bullying, provides a safe environment and teaches children new ways to play and resolve conflict.

My favorite childhood games were kickball and dodgeball.