On Friday, September 15, Playworks New England had the opportunity to host over 30 volunteers from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island during their 12th annual Blue across Rhode Island Service Day!
The innovative launch in 2015 of Recess Rocks in Rhode Island (RRIRI) has impacted thousands of students serving as a program that spreads safe and healthy play across the Ocean State. They hold a unique partnership with Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI), Playworks, and Rhode Island Healthy Schools Coalition (RIHSC). Since the start of the program being set in motion, RRIRI has worked in 116 schools across 33 school districts and charters, trained 4,600 educators, and has impacted recess and playtime for over 41,800 students in the state of Rhode Island.
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island encourages their employees to participate in their annual company-wide day of service, Blue Across Rhode Island. This year we worked alongside a team of 30+ BCBSRI volunteers to transform a recess blacktop at one of our partner schools, the Ella Risk Elementary School in Central Falls, Rhode Island.
The morning kicked off with Playworks’ Engagement Specialist Rachel Poz, who circled everyone up and gave the volunteers a brief overview of the project and the special connection it has to the Playworks’ mission. Regional Partnerships Manager, Jessi Jasper then gave everyone a background on her work with the Ella Risk school and the work of the partnership between the two amazing organizations. The morning circle closed off with Executive Director Renee Gaudette giving a heartfelt thank you to the volunteers from BCBSRI!
The volunteers then split up into three working groups ready to tackle a big play space area! These groups focused on various components of the blacktop: a colorful Yak Track walking pathway that spread across most of the blacktop, a couple of 4-square courts, a switch court, a race track, a multi-purpose court, a soccer field, a cool down area, and amazing hopscotch courts shaped as a kite and one that reminded students of how great they are.
As we enter the ninth year of Recess Rocks in Rhode Island, we cannot express how thankful we are for our partnership with Blue Cross & Blue Shield Rhode Island and Rhode Island Healthy Schools Coalition. Their belief in the power of play to bring out the best in every kid is transforming school climate all across Rhode Island. We are so happy to have been able to partner with them for Blue Across Rhode Island for another year and experience #TheBestDayEver!