Playworks kids at Loma Linda Elementary in Phoenix were delighted to have the Phoenix Suns Gorilla and more than 25 other members of the Suns staff share recess time with them on the morning of Thursday, September 25th.
Maria Baier, the Suns’ senior VP of communications, said, “We had no trouble finding volunteers to play with kids at recess.” She explained that, in addition to their ongoing community outreach efforts, this week was the NBA team’s “Week of Service,” allowing members of all departments to volunteer at various charities and non-profits throughout the week.
Playworks Executive Director Chuck Warshaver said, “The Suns are here today to learn about what we do at Playworks and to learn why we do it, to interact with the kids to see that our kids are citizens, are respectful, have empathy, and are totally engaged.”
After the morning recess each Suns staffer was asked to share his or her experience on the playground. Story after story was told of positive interactions witnessed and shared during recess. Comments included observations of fierce competition coupled with fierce sportsmanship, total adherence to rules and obvious efforts to encourage winners and losers alike. Visitors were impressed that no child was left out on the playground. One participant reflected on her memories of elementary school and how boys and girls seldom interacted with each other at recess. She praised the program for the inclusion and acceptance witnessed at recess. It was obvious to all that those same principles will transfer into classroom activities as well.
A few of the visitors committed to adopting RoShamBo as a means to resolve any office conflicts.
Suns Broadcaster and All Star Tom Chambers said’ “Playworks is a great thing, it has really transformed this school. We’re just learning about it and having fun and playing some games with the kids.”
At Playworks Arizona we know that seeing is believing and have discovered that experiencing the Playworks model in person is much more impactful than just learning about it online or by watching a video. Our greatest communication tool isn’t the press release or the news story. It’s the invitation to civic and business groups to share a recess with our students. We hope to see more involvement in the future from groups like the Phoenix Suns and look forward to a long and enjoyable relationship with Arizona’s favorite NBA team.