Playworks AmeriCorps Coaches serve their communities every time they step onto a school playground, so you’d think they’d grab the chance to take a holiday off. But instead, dozens of Playworks Coaches, staff members, and their families chose to join together on the National Day of Service to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior.
Playworks partnered with The Mission Continues and other nonprofit groups to help improve the lives of veterans living at the Century Villages at Cabrillo.
“When we can come together and serve different people, we make the world a better place,” says Christina Van Eck, a second-year Playworks AmeriCorps Coach who spent the day painting a storage room. “I know it sounds cliché, but it’s really true. When we put down our own desires and take time out of our day to serve, it does a lot for our country and our world.”
The apartment complex has a center where residents use vouchers to obtain clothing, shoes, and other items. Volunteers worked to spiff up the center with projects that included painting, putting together Ikea cabinets and shelves, and sorting through donations of clothing.
Crystal Buchanan, a first-year Playworks AmeriCorps Coach, says that her life is all about giving back and being a blessing to others. “I have a 12-year-old grandson who lives with me, and I have lots of kids in my community, so showing the kids how to give back and how to have a healthy community is very important to me.” Fitting for this grandmother, her favorite part of the day was looking at all the cute baby clothes she was sorting.
Zairrion Davis, a first-year Playworks AmeriCorps Coach, says the day reminded him of the importance of unity and joining together with others as a community. Serving alongside his Playworks family was a highlight.
“It was so good to see all the full-time coaches I hadn’t seen in a long time and have the chance to bond again,” Zairrion says. “That’s one of my favorite parts of when we do service projects together.”
For Lydia Gomez, a first-year Playworks AmeriCorps Coach, the best part was how everybody came together to help others, especially when there wasn’t much instruction on how to do some of the work. After all, it’s not always easy to figure out how to assemble Ikea furniture. She says the Day of Service was important to her because it gave her a chance to hear perspectives different from those she hears on the playground. And all in all, she says she loved serving because “it’s coming from your heart.”