“Come on Coach, Let’s play handball”

  1. Updates

It was the first week of school at 6th Avenue Elementary in Los Angeles, California! The sun was beaming down on the massive schoolyard and every student from Pre-Kindergarten to fifth grade was ready to begin a new year.

Even though this is the third year that the school has had Playworks, I am their new coach. I greeted the students with high fives and smiles at their before school program. We had kickball, basketball, handball, jump rope, and four square occurring simultaneously. As I drifted in and out of games on the yard, I eventually made it to handball; a game that I had seen played as an adolescent but never participated in. As soon as I got there, students shouted, “ Hey Coach!, Are you going to play with us today?!” I responded apprehensively, “Sure I’d like to play, but I need someone to teach me how.” Kylinn, a fifth grader, piped up and said, “I didn’t know how to play handball when I was new here but someone taught me and now I’m a pro! We can teach you how to play coach. Don’t worry!” Each morning since then, I have visited the handball court for my daily lesson and to encourage my students to continue their exemplary teaching skills.

After being at the school for only eight days, students have demonstrated some of the core values that each program coordinator strives to instill in the children they serve. Inclusion, healthy community, healthy play, and respect are life long values that can be shared amongst people no matter what age they may be. My experience with handball and the students at 6th Avenue has already made me feel welcome. It has also proven that the service Playworks provides does not only help build character in students but is food for the soul as well.

More Updates


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, have demonstrated precisely how and why play works to help kids learn and grow in the most positive and healthy ways. Jill gathered stories from people…

March 25, 2021

Top 6 Games to Play Physically Distant with No Equipment ›

As more and more schools transition back to in-person learning, we know educators are looking for games that are physically-distant and don’t require equipment. The need for play is more important than ever due to the isolation that our kids have endured during COVID-19. Play encourages creativity, flexibility, teamwork, and other critical social skills. We’ve…

March 12, 2021

Playworks: One Year Later ›

One year ago… All of our partner schools closed their buildings and our work serving kids in schools risked coming to a halt. We knew our mission had to continue. We remained committed to providing opportunities for joy and connection through play for kids in a COVID safe way, regardless if their school was virtual,…