Meet Coach Veronica

  1. Updates

“I use my service as a way to connect with children and let them know I am on their side.”

I chose to become a Playworks Coach and an AmeriCorps Member because I wanted to make a difference. Every morning when I wake up, I am excited and eager because I know I can help a child and build their confidence. Even if some days I am tired, the kids around me instantly brighten my day. At 7:45 a.m., students will run up to me, hug me, and give me high fives. They make me want to be a better coach.

At the beginning of the year, I had a first grader, whom we’ll call Jaiden, who would always yell and scream at the end of recess when I blew the whistle. He would run away from me with the soccer ball, and sometimes he even took off his shoes and tried to throw them at me. He loved recess, but transitioning back to class was hard.

I wanted to make the end of recess more enjoyable for both of us, so I built rapport with Jaiden by getting in the game. At recess, I started to split up the kids who wanted to play soccer into teams and then run around and play with them. As he began to get used to me playing, Jaiden would run up to me and ask me to split up teams and play with them all the time. Then, when I blew the whistle at the end of recess, he would grab the soccer ball and give it to me and then line up.

Jaiden went from a student with behavioral issues who would lash out to a student who I could rely on to come to me if he needed help. Now, he also helps me organize and clean up at the end of recess. All it took was a willingness to play! Jaiden is just one example of the students I interact with every day. Through my year of service, I am proud to make a lasting difference and make recess more fun for everyone.

Interested in becoming a Playworks AmeriCorps member? Learn more!


More Updates

January 10, 2023

Understanding the Complex Simplicities of Play ›

Play is a behavior that is natural and has existed for thousands of years and across species. It combines a set of made-up rules or norms and a willingness to…

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…

August 24, 2021

Playworks Founder Jill Vialet Publishes ‘Why Play Works’ ›

Play brings out the best in every kid. Over the course of 25 years since Jill Vialet founded Playworks, she and her colleagues, as well as researchers and play experts,…