The morning of May 6 was an exciting one for the Playworks New England community- in-person events were back!
After three years without our signature events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were thrilled to host over 100 attendees at our 5th Annual Get in the Game Breakfast on Friday morning at the Wyndham in Beacon Hill, Boston.
The morning kicked off with coffee and networking, with attendees representing dozens of companies and fields of work, but all had at least one thing in common: everyone believed in the power of play to bring out the best in every kid.
After guests were seated and served a plated breakfast by Wyndham Staff, Coach Becca Regis from the Mather Elementary School began our speaking program with opening remarks, noting her joy with her title of “Coach Becca” and the importance of play in schools.
“I may not know everyone in this room, but I know that each of you are here this morning because you believe in this same power of play,” Coach Becca said. “You believe that physical activity is important – that friendship matters- and that joy and connection are not just nice-to-haves but essential for kids to thrive.”
Guests also heard from Vice President of Field Operations, Jon Gay, about Playworks’ journey over the last several years navigating pandemic-related challenges. He noted that throughout the hardships, the innovation and creativity from the New England and national team resulted in new and exciting initiatives such as the Play at Home Playbook, a digital subscription service called Keep Playing, and weekly Facebook Live recesses during the height of the pandemic.
To many, the highlight of the Get in the Game Breakfast was the speaking panel moderated by Senior Program Manager Dana Harris. Sitting on the panel was Carolina Brito (our Principal of the Year), Shelby Obert (our Coach of the Year), and Junior Coach Aven (Junior Coach at the Grew Elementary School). Throughout their on-stage discussion, each speaker touched upon the ways in which the pandemic has highlighted hardships in their school communities, and why now is the time to prioritize play.
Following up on the panel’s discussion, Head of Advisor Communities at LPL Financial and Playworks New England’s Board Chair Kim Sheehy took the podium and shared her own journey with Playworks, and how Coaches and mentors impacted her as she was growing up.
“When I am on the playground with Playworks, I spend most of my time wondering which little girl will be most impacted by their Playworks Coach and if they just need a little push to understand that their future is also bright,” Kim shared. “I dream that every child on the playground is given that opportunity and will seize the encouragement and the support that they receive from their Coach.”
The outpouring of support from our Playworks community was apparent throughout the event. Our event sponsors (Howland Capital, the Mill’s Group, Nutter, Root Cause, and RSM) helped make this breakfast possible, and those who attended, donated, and shared the Playworks story are helping us make a lasting impact in our community.
We raised over $25,000 through the Get in the Game Breakfast and are thrilled to use these funds to expand programming for the 2022-23 school year.
“Whether you are new to the Playworks Community or have been long-time supporters and advocates, our hope is that today you all saw just how powerful connections and joy can be to students, school staff, parents and the entire community,” said Coach Becca, closing out the program. “With your support we will help develop core social emotional skills in thousands of children, create safe environments and provide consistent and positive adult role models across our partner schools.”