1. Updates

Playworks is proud to partner with BelAir Cantina as their new Powered by Tacos nonprofit. Look for the High 5 Taco on menus at all four locations beginning October 24. All proceeds will support the Playworks Junior Coach Leadership Program in 22 schools in Milwaukee and Waukesha.

What does it mean to be Powered by Tacos? Playworks Wisconsin Executive Director, Deborah Lukovich, recently sat down with BelAir Cantina co-owner, Kristyn Eitel, to learn more about this unique community impact initiative.

Deb: Kristyn, we are so excited to be your Powered by Tacos nonprofit. It seems like we have a lot in common. Could you talk a little bit about why you chose Playworks?

Kristyn: We discussed Playworks early in the year and did a lot of research. When we started getting involved, we really felt there was going to be an immediate impact in the community. That is what we try to focus on when we are working with Powered by Tacos. It's about our community and making it better, and also having the opportunity to have our employees involved. When we came to the school and we were able to have recess with the kids, the impact it had on myself and the managers was incredible! I am so excited to be a part of this.

Deb: Great! I'm so glad. I understand that we are your third nonprofit? Could you share a little bit about when this all started and what the motivation was behind Powered by Tacos.

Kristyn: This is our third year working with Powered by Tacos. Our first year started with the skate park in Wauwatosa. We knew that if we were able to help, we would have a place for our kids to go and play in a safe environment. We felt very strongly about being a part of the impact right away in our community. We came up with the idea of creating a taco with the skate park, putting it on the menu, and the proceeds would go back to the skate park. We were able to raise enough money to finish the completion of the skate park. Last year, we worked with the UEC and were able to purchase equipment for their equipment lending program which is an unbelievable program. Then it came down to choosing our third year and Playworks was absolutely our #1 choice.

Deb: We are really excited. When you talk about your visit to one of our schools, we felt the same way about you guys! All the managers, including the chef, were there and there was something about your energy combined with the energy of the kids that really has made me reflect upon what it is like to work at BelAir. At Playworks, our core values are inclusion, respect, healthy play, and healthy community. Whenever I hang out at a BelAir, I feel that same kind of dynamic happening. Can you talk about your philosophy around work culture?

Kristyn: It's very important for us to provide a very happy, fun working environment. I feel that is one of my main priorities as being a restaurant owner. We have just about 500 employees. Being able to touch every single person is difficult. But, if our managers are happy, then our staff is happy [and] then they are working really hard, and our customers are happy. It sort of all just trickles down. A big part of that is making sure that they are comfortable, healthy, and safe. I noticed that also when we came to that playground. That's what you guys are doing with these kids. That's what I'm trying to do also, so I feel like it's absolutely a perfect match.

Deb: I do too! We are really excited to launch our taco on October 24. Of course, we'll be having happy hour meet-ups at all BelAir Cantina locations on November 4. We are thrilled to have this collaboration. Thank you!

Kristyn: Yeah! Thank you very much!

Deb: High-five!

Check out the interview here!


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…

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…