Carson, CA—May 10, 2016—Playworks announced today that DeMar George, Playworks AmeriCorps Coach of Playworks Southern California at Kennedy Elementary School in Santa Ana, CA, has been selected as the recipient for the 2016 Rookie of the Year Award for exemplifying service and the power of play. The annual award recognizes a Playworks AmeriCorps Member who has done an incredible job bringing the power of play to his school community in his or her first year as a Playworks Coach. The Rookie of the Year is nominated among 264 AmeriCorps members nationwide.
DeMar runs an incredibly high-performing program, and has managed to pave the way of excellence through inspiring and winning the hearts of his 900 students. His massive smile and infectious laugh have brought the faculty, administration, and parents together. Additionally, to spread the love and build sustainability, he’s provided multiple trainings to recess supervisors (staff at Kenedy Elementary) in order to prepare the campus for long-term transformation. He attended Nike’s USA Youth Coach Academy to better support and develop his Girls Basketball team. This spring, his second graders wrote and performed an original song titled “Coach Dee, We Love You” to show their appreciation. Whether he’s organizing an All-School Field Day or visiting the local community center preparing for his community engagement service project, DeMar brings play and healthy community everywhere he goes. DeMar will be honored at Get in the Game, a benefit for Playworks, on May 13, 2016 at 6 p.m. at San Francisco’s City View at Metreon.
“Many people can do what is necessary to fulfill a job description. Only a few people go above and beyond what is necessary. Coach D is one of those rare individuals who takes pride in the work that he does,” said Steven Kotsubo, Principal, Kennedy Elementary. “He truly is a difference maker.”
“It’s a huge honor to be named Rookie Coach Of The Year, because I know there are amazing programs being ran nationally. I am a true believer that play works for every kid and I have enjoyed every minute serving Kennedy Elementary and its community,” said George.
Playworks is also honoring two other individuals for their commitment to using the power of play to bring out the best in kids and adults. The 2016 Inspiring Leadership Award will be presented to Bernard J. Tyson, Chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, for exemplifying the qualities that Playworks develops in young people across the country. The Most Valuable Principal Award will be presented to Dr. Charles Kramer, principal of Patterson Park Public Charter in Baltimore, Maryland, for his commitment to going above and beyond to ensure his school allows time and space for play.
Playworks gratefully acknowledges the generosity of lead sponsors Kaiser Permanente, Quatalyst Partners, Barney & Barney, Golden State Warriors, PG&E, and Wentworth Consulting Group. Playworks is also thankful for the involvement of Honorary Committee members US Senator Barbara Boxer, Plumpjack Group President Hilary Newsom Callan, US House of Representatives Member Barbara Lee, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, US House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Sato Foundation founder Sonia Sato, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, and Proteus Digital Health CEO Andy Thompson.
Playworks is the leading national nonprofit leveraging the power of play to transform children’s physical and emotional health. Playworks currently serves more than 1,300 schools in 23 U.S. cities, and reaches more than 700,000 students directly and through professional training services.