Playworks AmeriCorps Coaches make a positive impact every day at 10 Coach schools across Los Angeles every day, impacting more than 6,000 kids this school year. Coaches transform schools, engage communities, and inspire youth leaders. Through service, Playworks AmeriCorps members create a place for every kid on the playground to feel included, be active, and build valuable social and emotional skills by organizing games during and after school. Without these Coaches, we would not be able to impact these schools’ communities every day. Playworks AmeriCorps Coaches are making a bigger impact now more than ever, as kids adapt to a new school climate during a time of such impacting change.

Willie Arnold, Coach Willie

As an AmeriCorps Coach, my ultimate goal is to provide the guidance and support that I always wished for during my student years. Three-line soccer holds a special place in my heart as it is my absolute favorite game. Being present at this school, I am genuinely excited to connect with the diverse personalities that fill its halls. I have come to realize the incredible power of play in my own adult life and firmly believe in its importance and the numerous benefits it brings to students. And let’s not forget about my favorite clap – the iconic Kool-Aid Man clap, it never fails to bring a smile to my face. Together, let’s make the learning journey enjoyable and empowering for all students!

Si’era Crook, Coach Swish

My main goal is to make a lasting impact on the lives of my kids and build a strong connection with them, one that they will cherish no matter where their journeys lead them. “Go fishing” is my favorite game, and its concept, related to the popular show Squid Games, intrigues me. What excites me the most this school year is the opportunity to be a positive role model, learning about my school and thriving in a new environment. My ultimate desire is for my students to attribute their achievements to me, saying, “Coach Swish is the reason I accomplished this or that.” I firmly believe in the power of play because, like music, it acts as a universal language that brings people together and fosters a sense of community. And when it comes to showing appreciation, nothing beats the iconic Kool-Aid clap!

Christian Hudson, Coach Cool

My goal is to be the reason why kids want to come to school and engage in play. Dodgeball happens to be my favorite game, as it brings excitement and team spirit. I am especially looking forward to this school year because I will have the opportunity to select my Junior Coaches (JC’s) and help them develop into young leaders. I strongly believe in the power of play, as it not only builds character but also fosters lifelong friendships. Play can truly be the highlight of one’s day. And when it comes to showing appreciation, my favorite clap is the iconic Ric Flair clap.

Donte James, Coach Douda

As an AmeriCorps coach, my primary goal is to create a safe and inclusive play environment for everyone! I believe in giving all friends the opportunity to learn and enjoy new games. Currently, my favorite game is hula hoop tag, which brings loads of excitement to the playground! Additionally, I am dedicated to equipping teachers and recess staff with the tools they need to continue fostering positive play experiences even after our program ends. I firmly believe that through play, we can address many common playground issues, especially those related to equality. At Playworks, we strive to ensure that everyone feels welcomed and included in our games. Lastly, I love the energy of the Roman Reigns clap as my favorite appreciation clap! Together, let’s continue making playtime fun and impactful for all children!

David Madera, Coach David

My goal is to make a positive impact in the future of my community by guiding kids towards better choices and helping them avoid negative paths. My favorite games are 6 line soccer and medic dodgeball, and I strive to create a well-organized recess and lunch program at my school where all the kids are happy every day. I believe in the power of play because it truly engages children, bringing joy and happiness to their lives. Ensuring that every child has a positive experience during playtime is essential for their overall well-being. And as for my favorite appreciation clap, it’s definitely the Ronaldo “Siiiiu” clap!

Ania Minor, Coach Duo

Goal in serving as an AmeriCorps Coach coming soon. 

Zakira Pegues, Coach ZQ

My name is Coach ZQ and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to share a bit about myself. My biggest goal is to gain leadership experience and provide hands-on service hours to the community. I absolutely love sports, especially kickball and basketball. When I’m not on the court, I work as a mentor for students. I’m looking forward to making a positive impact on their lives by showing them that it’s okay to be yourself, even if others don’t approve. I strongly believe that play is a fun way to teach real-life skills and that it’s a universal language. Everyone loves a good game! And let’s not forget the “Zakira” clap – it’s my signature move!

Nayo Pile, Coach Nayo

Goal in serving as an AmeriCorps Coach coming soon. 

Cecelia Rodriguez, Coach GG

Goal in serving as an AmeriCorps Coach coming soon. 

Alejandra Santana, Coach Birdy

My goal in serving as an AmeriCorps Coach is to help empower children through safe and healthy play. My favorite game is Going Fishing! I am most looking forward to seeing how kids’ confidence evolves as the program progresses especially with Junior Coaches. I think that the power of play allows kids to see their strengths right in front of them on the playground in a way that they can immediately recognize. My favorite appreciation clap is the Batman Clap.

Samuel Vaughn, Coach Sam

Goal in serving as an AmeriCorps Coach coming soon. 

Seth Villareal, Coach Burger

As an AmeriCorps coach, my goal is to serve as a positive influence in the day-to-day lives of these kids, especially for those who may not have positive role models outside of school. I understand that for some of them, the best part of their day is during school recess. Handball happens to be my favorite game, as it brings excitement and encourages teamwork. Since this is my first year serving, I am excited to witness the impact I will make. It’s also the first year Playworks is being implemented, so it will be a new experience for all of us. I firmly believe in the power of play because during recess, kids of all elementary grade levels have the opportunity to come together and play. It is in this setting that we can teach them important values such as gender equality, inclusivity, proper recess etiquette, and motor skills development. Lastly, my favorite clap is the Batman clap. It’s a fun way to show appreciation and bring a smile to everyone’s faces!