Deja Johnson


She/her
AmeriCorps Program Coordinator
Edwin M. Stanton School

Deja is a Recess Program Coordinator who works with the Stallions of Edwin M. Stanton to help students understand the importance of play. Born and raised in Queens, New York, Deja has been empowering and inspiring kids all around the city. In August of 2019, she then brought her talents to Philadelphia to continue to empower and inspire children through play with Playworks. While working in Philadelphia, Deja only hopes two things: to not grow fond of the Sixers more than the Knicks and to find pizza that reminds her of home.

 

Anthony Wayne


He/him
AmeriCorps Program Coordinator
Samuel W. Pennypacker School

I’m coach Anthony or coach Ant for short. Norristown Pennsylvania is where I was born and raised. I have a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Cabrini University. Some of my favorite hobbies include playing baseball, basketball, listening to music, and buying shoes. I have always enjoyed working with children and inspiring the youth to the best of my capability.

 

Phallon DePante


She/her
AmeriCorps Program Coordinator
Philip H. Sheridan School

Phallon is a third year Playworks Program Coordinator serving at Philip Sheridan Elementary School. Phallon has always been a dedicated advocate for equity, equality and providing children with the compassionate care and opportunities they deserve to reach their full potential. With a B.B.A. in Marketing from Temple University and over 10 years of experience as a childcare provider and educator, she uses her passion and creativity to help build meaningful relationships and positively impact the communities she serves.

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA (The City of Champions!) Phallon is a die-hard Steelers fan! When she is not working on her bulletin board or lesson plans, Phallon loves listening to podcasts, doing yoga, having a nice cold seltzer, and watching true crime documentaries.

 

Jared Beck


He/him
AmeriCorps Program Coordinator
Alain Locke School

Jared is a second year Coach who understands the benefits that inclusive play has on children. Jared, who spent 6 years working in various special education and youth development programs in Howard County, MD, is a new and very proud resident of Philadelphia. His love for the city began while studying English at Widener University, right outside of the city in Chester, PA. He always wanted to make Philadelphia his home, and is happy that Playworks made it possible. 

Born and raised outside of Baltimore, MD, in Ellicott City, Jared is a vocal lover of the Baltimore Orioles, collecting books, and checking out new and exciting art galleries. Jared wants to plan unique community engagement initiatives and revitalize the community, one playground at a time.

 

Suhaylah Muhammad


She/her
AmeriCorps Program Coordinator
Flex Coordinator

I am so north philly but in a good way. I took where I came from and incorporated it in all of what I wanted to do for my community. I went to northeast high school and then worked towards my degree at temple university. ( Still working on it) I plan on being active in the education system for a long time working towards change. ” I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element…”

 

Jake Lucas


They/them
AmeriCorps Program Coordinator
Gilbery Spruance School

Jake is new to the Playworks team as a Program Coordinator serving with Spruance Elementary. “I couldn’t be more excited to help empower youth through play, as an essential part of growing-up and finding your voice.” 

Jake graduated from Drexel with their B.S. in research psychology this past spring focusing on identity development and creativity. In their free time when not eating as much bread as possible, they are performing and writing shows in improv and comedy with the American Immersion Theater and PHIT’s Mural Outrage. They are currently working on a verbatim theater project with the DCTC, amidst development for a constructivist model for comedy improvisation. “Everyone should have the chance to be silly and fail at being who they are. Being human is hard enough—we should at least be able to laugh about it.”

 

Brett Carrigan


He/him
AmeriCorps Program Coordinator
Lewis Elkin School

Brett is the newest member of the Pennsylvania Playworks team as a Program Coordinator serving at Lewis Elkin Elementary School. Originally from the small town of Cochranville, Pennsylvania, Brett made his way to Temple University where he is currently in his senior year, majoring in Sport & Recreation Management. Brett is an aspiring relationship-builder committed to bettering the lives of people and their communities through the power of sport and recreation. 

Brett’s love for Philadelphia and passion to support the youth of the city took off when he started his own debate club at People For People Charter Middle School. It was through this experience that he saw the value of youth development and inspiring students to become the best version of themselves. In his free time, Brett can be found biking throughout the city looking for a quality view or cheering on his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers.