Playworks is proud that more than 50% of our coaches across the country are AmeriCorps members. AmeriCorps is a national community program funded by the US government that places individuals in direct service roles within nonprofit and government organizations. For school year 2017-18, 100% of our Georgia coaches are AmeriCorps members.
Gian Crunk a.k.a. Coach Crunk
Background: Gian Crunk is a motivated, excited first-year coach! He’s a military veteran who recently graduated from Georgia State University with a degree in International & Human Resources Economics and a minor in Psychology. He enjoys playing soccer and hiking trails with his dogs. He will always do his best and loves giving back to the community through selfless service.
Favorite Recess Game: Soccer
Chauntel Herrod a.k.a. Coach Tel
Background: Coach Tel is beyond excited for her first year as a Playworks Coach. For some time now, Coach Tel has engaged in numerous volunteering opportunities. Those opportunities have helped her discover the passion she has for youth and their physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being. What attracted her to Playworks is the mission to improve social-emotional learning through the power of safe, meaningful play. Her goal for this year is to positively impact each and every kid she encounters and to have fun! If Coach Tel is not at recess with the kids, you can catch her cycling through the streets of Atlanta, reading an awesome book, traveling, playing basketball, or out laughing with some friends.
Favorite Recess Game: Basketball
Brandon Hopper a.k.a. Coach Hop
Background: Coach Hop was born in Cincinnati, Ohio to two very loving and athletic parents. He experienced living in multiple states because his parents were in the military. Since elementary schoo,l Coach Hop has been diving in head-first to anything that involves athletics. His favorite sports include track and field, basketball, football, and baseball. Throughout his college career, he participated in basketball and track and field. Having such an extensive athletic background allows Coach Hop to connect with every kid. Coach Hop loves Playworks. His favorite recess games are foursquare, hula-hoops, tag, and three-line footbal. Coach Hop has a unique name and challenges all of his students to HOP for high-fives.
Favorite Recess Game: Basketball
Carlos Powell a.k.a. Coach Los
Background: Coach Los is very passionate about helping children become innovators and living up to their full potential. He was born in Mississippi and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. Growing up, he spent most of his time playing sports. Coach Los played football throughout his college career and coaches a youth basketball team in his spare time. Coach Los has experience working with children through the Eastlake YMCA as well as the Southwoods Camp as a coordinator, coach, and cabin specialist. He is very proud to be a part of the Georgia Playworks team and is enthusiastic to teach youth fun recess games.
Favorite Recess Game: Capture the Flag
Andrew Pryer a.k.a. Coach Drew
Dana Riles a.k.a. Coach Dana
Background: Coach Dana has a decade of experience that she's eager to share with youth. Her journey working with youth began in a local Boys and Girls Club, followed by other roles in schools and daycares. She takes pride in giving youth the power of social and emotional awareness, as well as the motivation to push physical limitations. Coach Dana is inspired by youth each day, and makes the feeling mutual by making each moment count.
LaTasha Sheats a.k.a. Coach Tasha
Background: Coach Tasha has over ten years of experience in supporting youth development, mentoring, and providing social services for low-income families, homeless individuals, and at-risk youth. In 2005, she founded a mentor organization, Strong, Beautiful, & Godly Girls, Inc. for at-risk teenage girls. Through her mentor organization, she has managed to build great relationships with various nonprofit agencies and community-based businesses by creating volunteer opportunities and various programs upon the needs of her community. In helping families in need, her main focus has always been children. She worked mainly with teenagers before Playworks. Coach Tasha appreciates the opportunity to join the Playworks family to learn how to play and have fun again.
Melvin Smalls a.k.a. Coach Smalls
Background: Hailing from the city of Miami, Coach Smalls brings experience in coaching and motivating youth. Determined to stay out of the streets and in school, Smalls developed a love for basketball at an early age. This love for sports informed his career path and created a passion and desire to teach others and help students grow. Recently, Coach Smalls had the distinct pleasure of coaching a football team in Abu Dhabi. It was there that his future of working with kids was solidified. Coach Smalls brings excitement, experience, and fun to Playworks. He looks forward to meeting new people and touching the lives of children.
Favorite recess game: 21
O'Cephus Taylor Starks a.k.a. Coach O
Background: Coach O's experience working with youth began as a volunteer at a children's museum in Normal, Illinois. He later became a recreation leader for the Bloomington Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Arts Department, the Town of Normal, and Gwinnett County. In addition to his youth development experience, Coach O has sports management experience having worked in two university athletic departments: Illinois State University and Northwestern University. He also served as an event management intern with USSSA baseball and volunteered with the Big Ten Championship, USA Rugby, and the 2015 NFL Draft. A position with World Sport Chicago as a sports mentor to underserved freshman and sophomore males in inner-city Chicago made an imprint on Coach O. He wants to continue his path of being a positive role model for sport and play. In his first year with Playworks, Coach O is excited to continue impacting the lives of many youth one recess at a time.
Favorite Recess Game: Foursquare
LaJarret Tarvin a.k.a. Coach T
Background: LaJarret Tarvin, also known as Coach T, is entering his first year with Playworks. Prior to joining Playworks, Coach T served as an after-school instructor for The Kindezi School for the 2016-2017 school year. Coach T was born in Mobile, Alabama, where he was also raised. After graduating high school in 2010, from John L. LeFlore, Coach T went on to attend Alabama State University, where he finished with a BA in Print Journalism. While attending Alabama State, Coach T coached three seasons of tee-ball in Montgomery, Alabama as well as the sports editor and sports photographer for The Hornet Tribune, Alabama State University’s student newspaper.
Dewitt Myers a.k.a. Coach Witt
Background: Coach Witt is excited for his first year as coach for Playworks, taking part in the Junior Coach Cops pilot. As a collegiate football player, Coach Witt mentored elementary kids as his way of giving back to his community. Coach Witt values the importance of a healthy community and guiding youth. In his spare time, he enjoys playing sports, traveling, and being with family. He has a positive attitude and is very excited to lead the younger generation.
Favorite Recess Game: Kickball