Story from the Playground: Coach Michael

  1. Updates

Playworks Junior Coaches help our coaches facilitate recess, but more importantly, they learn how to lead, resolve conflicts, problem solve, and model positive behavior. Playworks Junior Coach Leadership Program gives students a new sense of purpose and provides them with the resources to discover their best selves. Coach Michael explains how giving students more responsibility has allowed them to flourish as leaders. 


A student, who I will call Timothy, had a bad reputation at school. Many school staff members were telling me how defiant he could be. So, I made him a Junior Coach hoping this could positively change his behavior. I worked closely with him, teaching and inspiring him to make better decisions with his actions and words. After some time, I saw that he was really taking his Junior Coaching job very seriously. This was just what I wanted to see from him. I knew he would excel as a leader as long as he was given the chance to make a positive impact and do good for the school.

I have noticed many students are labeled as the “troublemaker” or the “bad kid,” but it is important to ignore those labels and instead focus on their strengths. If someone is always hearing about how “bad” they are, then they will never think that they can do good. My goal is to teach these students that they can do good as long as they set their mind to something and block out the negativity. Everyone feeds off of each others’ energy and personalities. Complementing, acknowledging, and role modeling is huge. To me, these actions make the biggest impacts on even some of the hardest kids to work with.

More Updates


A boy and girl holding basketballs on a playground.
A boy and girl holding basketballs on a playground.

November 16, 2022

2021-22 Annual Report ›

We are excited to share with you a look back at everything we accomplished in the 2021-2022 program year. It was a year focused on rebuilding after the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and we are proud to share that we served 41,200 students in the Northern California Region.  We are thankful for your continued…

three people with Playworks shirts
three people with Playworks shirts

July 28, 2022

A year of social and emotional learning ›

“You can’t do SEL, trauma, or equity work without each other,” Jennette Claassen, Head of Evaluation, Playworks. As Playworks continued to progress on our equity journey, we explored a critical question: what are the intersections between play, social and emotional learning, physical activity, and trauma? A working group focused on this question decided, among other…

April 5, 2022

Golden State Warriors Community Foundation & Salesforce partner with Playworks ›

Check out this inspiring video showcasing Playworks Northern California’s continued partnership with the Warriors Community Foundation and Salesforce during the 2021-22 school year. Playworks has delivered safe and healthy play to over 30,000 elementary school children of promise in Northern California this year. We are grateful for their support of this important work!