Why We Serve: Reflections from Playworks AmeriCorps Coaches

  1. Updates

It’s no secret that our AmeriCorps Coaches are total rockstars. Their Program Managers have awesome things to say about them, Coach Sara shared her service story with us, and now it’s time to hear from all 15 of our incredible AmeriCorps Coaches. 

Why did you choose to be a Playworks Coach?

  • Coach Mike: Youth are our future and I feel like equal opportunity to play and sports is essential for youth development.
  • Coach G: I wanted to give my time back to communities that needed it most. I wanted to create a recess that felt inclusive, safe, engaging and fun. I know that recess can be an intimidating part of school and not all kids love recess. However, I became a Playworks coach so recess could be fun and inclusive to everyone.
  • Coach Shelby: I believe that students deserve to learn the power of play, and the impact we as coaches can make in a school is awesome.
  • Coach Mo: I chose to be a Playworks Coach because it sounded like a great experience to learn and develop a lot of skills for myself, while also playing with kids and helping them have a safer and more fun recess.
  • Coach Tee: I chose to be a Playworks Coach because I believe every child just needs a little bit of love and play in their lives, and this was one of the best ways to accomplish that.

What’s your favorite part about being a Playworks Coach?

  • Coach Becca: Knowing that if one day or class doesn’t go so well there are plenty of opportunities to turn it around and work at it as a group. When the kids are able to recognize what they need to do differently in a group or can really express the purpose of a game, it makes me feel as though it makes an impact.
  • Coach Mike: Getting greeted by all of my students in the morning. Even if I don’t have the energy for the day I know they will [greet me], which gives me a much needed boost.
  • Coach Athena: Being able to learn how to work with different types of students!
  • Coach Sara: I like to play!
  • Coach G: I love seeing the progress the kids are making at recess. I love seeing what each kid has learned each day and how they apply that to recess. I also love seeing how the skills the students learn at class game time are applied to different recess games and how they are making progress in each game they play every day.
  • Coach T: I love to see the actual impact I’m having on the children and seeing how excited they are every time they see me.
  • Coach Shelby: My favorite part of being a Playworks Coach is standing at the door during arrival and greeting all of the students and having parents know who I am without having to introduce myself!
  • Coach K: The students, the students, students! I want to impact the kids in a positive way, and getting to play games while I do that is certainly a big plus.
  • Coach A: Being able to see the kids everyday and being able to make them smile.

What have you learned from being a Playworks Coach?

  • Coach Becca: Schools in general can be a place of stress for students as well as staff and faculty but when the community is strong and focuses not only on the educational part of school but also the overall well being and development of everyone in the school, it makes such a difference.
  • Coach G: I learned that there is not a one size fits all approach when teaching. Each kid has different needs and wants that need to be addressed, and coming up with the same plan for each student and class is not effective. Coming up with different ways to work with each student and each class is what’s going to make a difference.
  • Coach K: How much students truly look up to us. The impact that we have on them is huge.
  • Coach Tee: I have learned how important it is to meet students where they are. Not everyone has the same things. Not everyone has a stable situation, but knowing what each kid needs is so extremely important. Some students just need to be told that you notice what they are doing. Some just want you to talk about some of the shows they are currently watching. Whatever it is, it helps so much to build relationships and bonds.

Why did you choose to do a year of service? What does service mean to you?

  • Coach X: Service means giving back to the community that I came from.
  • Coach K: Service means doing and putting your time into something to better that cause, whether it be your community, school, or something else.  For me it was the fact that I’m playing with students and we’re all having fun.
  • Coach T: Giving back to the community that made you who you are, and being that role model I had when I was in school for the students today.
  • Coach Brady: When I was in elementary school I had a lot of great mentors help me and I wanted to pay it forward and hopefully inspire the next generation of students.

Tell us a great story that happened at your school.

  • Coach Sara: We struggled to get the playground clear after the blizzard. But we managed to get the whole school out to play on the 68 degree day. This was the first time I saw real widespread joy among the students. Everyone was jumping up and down and hugging. It was so beautiful.
  • Coach T: The student that everybody looks at in a different way because of how he reacts to things caught my eye… I picked him to be one of my Junior Coaches because I knew I could work with him. He’s now much better at communicating his strong feelings.
  • Coach Mike: I had a trivia Class Game Time with one of my 4th grade classes that was a huge hit. Everyone was so into the game and worked incredibly well together as a group. It was one of the first times I saw a whole group of students work together cohesively without conflict and it put a smile on my face. The next day every single student from that class asked me to continue at recess and told me they kept the score on the board. It made my day to see the whole group enjoy something together.
  • Coach Shelby: One of the best things to happen to me this year was spirit week. One of the spirit week days was “twin day” and I jokingly told a first grade class to dress like me. I showed up the next day and there were 20-25 little faces with sweatpants and a blue shirt or hoodie on saying that they were my twin. It just shows how much the students love their Playworks Coaches. We make an impact by showing up everyday.

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