Playworks Illinois is celebrating AmeriCorps week by highlighting one of our AmeriCorps coaches, Mollie Strawn. Coach Mollie is a first year coach. Here is what she had to say about her experiences both as a coach and an AmeriCorps member:
“I was nervous on my first day at school. The Playworks team prepared me with training, but I was being pushed out of the nest. It was my time to fly. I had no idea how the children at Boone Elementary would respond to me, how recess would go, or what games we would play. I knew the kids were familiar with Playworks because we'd been at Boone for three years already, but I was still wracked with nerves, unsure of what my role would be at the school."
“During my third recess period, I rounded the corner of the building and saw a group of twenty fourth graders playing dodgeball. They had set up cones to establish boundaries, divided themselves into teams and begun playing all on their own. That's when it hit me: I was a part of something bigger than me. Playworks works. Recess is better, and kids are more active and engaged at Playworks schools. It was because of the hard work of the two coaches that came before me that these fourth graders knew, on the first day of school, how to organize and play a safe, inclusive game at recess. I realized then that I was lucky to have the opportunity to be an AmeriCorps coach and continue the important work of using the power of play to bring out the best in every child at Boone Elementary School.”
Coach Mollie is currently serving at Daniel Boone Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois. Mollie received her undergraduate degree in Recreation Management from Appalachian State University and moved to the big city looking for adventures. Prior to joining Playworks as an AmeriCorps coach, she spent a year in the pool teaching kids to swim.