While Iman did well academically, she was hesitant to join new games if she didn’t fully understand the rules. At her previous school, if someone did not know how to play the game, he or she did not get the chance to play. With Playworks, everyone belongs, has fun and is part of the game. Iman, who liked soccer but was not an expert at it, recently played in the Playworks Interscholastic Developmental Soccer League and developed a much better understanding of not only of the sport, but of teamwork and good sporting behavior. She is even considering playing softball and basketball.
Her participation in Playworks Junior Coach Leadership Program and sports leagues along with the inclusive school environment that Playworks provides, has led Iman to become happier, more energetic and physically active. She also has surprised her family by encouraging them to be more fitness-oriented.
“She encourages me to get outside and take more walks. That probably wouldn’t have happened if not for Playworks,” said Maribel.
Maribel knows Playworks Coach Steph was a big part of the school’s and Iman’s positive transformation.
“Coach Steph is amazing. She helped my daughter believe in herself,” said Maribel. “Iman would not be where she is now with her confidence and social skills if it were not for her. Iman looks to her as a role model. When someone talks about Coach Steph, her eyes light up like two light bulbs. It takes someone very special to be able to do that.”
Besides being a good mentor, Coach Steph takes the time to teach each child the rules of the game and encourages them to have fun and be creative. She even reaches out to parents to give them options to get involved. Coach Steph works hard to make Garland Elementary a healthy school and creates a healthy community for the surrounding area.
Among other parents, Maribel is impressed that the Playworks program successfully uses organized, inclusive playtime to help kids grow, learn and believe in themselves. It is, as she puts it, one of the best things to ever happen to Iman.
“Playworks programming enriches these kid’s lives. I tell Coach Steph all the time that I appreciate what she has done. Iman wouldn’t be the same without Coach Steph and Playworks. Nowadays she comes home from school so excited about her day that I have to calm her down! It definitely would not have been this way last year.”
“I have seen firsthand how Playworks programming works, and I encourage everyone in the community to support Playworks.”