Suzanne Huff cites Amidon-Bowen Elementary School as the reason she moved her family to southwest Washington, DC decades ago. With her kids, Lori and John, now fully grown and settled in their careers, Suzanne, who owns her own business marketing federal contracts, volunteers at recess twice a week as a way to give back to the school that has given so much to her family. It’s also one way she stays involved in her neighborhood.
Suzanne is many things to the kids at Amidon-Bowen—a good listener, a selfless helper—but she identifies herself chiefly as a “facilitator of fun.” Whether it’s hula-hooping or leaping with students in her favorite Playworks game, “Jump the River,” Suzanne loves playing. She’s also a nurturing, calming presence on the playground. Playworks DC’s Coach Lee says, “Suzanne brings a mother’s perspective to recess,” and he has learned to have even greater patience from watching her with the kids.
Suzanne’s first impression of a Playworks recess was that it provided enough structure for students to feel safe and supported, but also enough freedom to let kids be kids. She believes that because students are learning new games during recess, they are becoming better listeners and are more receptive to their teachers’ directions.
“I really am enjoying the Playworks program, and I think it’s a great addition,” she said. “Recess is not just teachers standing around, waiting until lunchtime. Coach Lee helps kids make the most of their free time.” Then Suzanne is off to the basketball court, praising kids for their jump shots and making them feel special.