“I’m better than you!”

  1. Updates

Of all the great things Playworks has implemented into a school filled with 1200 students; one story, in particular, personifies Playworks’ mission and the reason we are increasing in size every year. At the beginning of the school year, I met a student who was competitive in every possible sport on the school yard.  Darren Long was known as the kid who could jump higher, run faster, and kick the ball harder than any kid at the school. Though I was impressed by his athletic ability, I was shocked that he was so confrontational with most of his classmates. He was so competitive that his performance on the field spilled into the classroom through bragging about what he could do in comparison to other kids.  His comments were “If Mike couldn't stop me out there: no one here can stop me". These kind of comments started arguments and created a "Darren versus everyone else" mentality.

So as a result, I felt Darren would benefit from the Junior Coach program and offered him a Junior Coach position.  Within a couple of weeks, his responsibility as a Junior Coach gave Darren a sense of purpose.  Almost immediately Darren went from someone who wants to beat you, to someone who wants to help you. He started leading games and teaching his fellow students tips and tricks on how to master each game.  Several students listened to Darren since he was already known for his athletic abilities on campus.  He was able to help students improve and build skills. For example, students who couldn't catch a football, now could.  Those who couldn't dribble a basketball were playing full court games. It was amazing to see the “I versus everyone else” mentality melt away and watch him turn into the “teacher” at recess.  Even today, Darren continues to be one of my best Junior Coaches. Thanks to the Junior Coach program, he is no longer arguing with everyone and has become a mentor instead of a competitor. This is only a snap shot of the many great things Playworks provides to every school. 

More Updates


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…

March 30, 2022

Playworks Celebrates Women’s History Month ›

Playworks Southern California celebrates Women Leaders who have contributed to the Power of 25 years of Play. During this month, meet remarkable female leaders who strive to ensure that every student on the playground feels valued and heard. Throughout Southern California, these women have contributed to empowering students, especially young girls, to get in the…

Group of children
Group of children

January 18, 2022

Playworks Receives Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation Grant ›

DAVE ROBERTS CONGRATULATES PLAYWORKS AS A FOURTH QUARTER DODGERS FOUNDATION GRANTEES  Playworks Southern California was among 11 Los Angeles nonprofit organizations that received a video message from Dave Roberts, Los Angeles Dodgers General Manager, congratulating them on receiving grant funds from the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF). Today 11 LA nonprofit organizations received this video…