As Playworks ramps up its scaling efforts to bring safe and healthy play to 3.5 million children in 7,000 schools nationwide, the Wisconsin region is aggressively recruiting influential community members to assist in its own AIM to bring safe and healthy play to 100,000 children in 250 schools by the end of 2020. Its newest addition is Myra Edwards, a Senior Advisor to Mayor Tom Barrett on workforce and education.
Ms. Edwards comes to Playworks with a long list of contributions to the health and well-being of students in Milwaukee. She was a collaborator in creating the city’s first youth intermediary and their genesis project, Beyond the Bell. She oversees the Mayor’s summer youth employment initiative, known as EARN & LEARN, which has put more than 27,000 Milwaukee teens in jobs since 2005, and in 2011, the Mayor tasked her with creating the Mayor’s EARN & LEARN Fund, which has made a summer job a reality through more than $3.4 million in contributions over its five previous summer-cycles. Ms. Edwards also serves jointly with Mayor Barrett on the Executive Committee of Milwaukee Succeeds, the city’s cradle-to-career education initiative. She is a native of Milwaukee and an MPS graduate.
“I was already aware of the good work of Playworks in MPS schools, but as I learned more about the research and the significant impact Playworks programming has on children’s developing social and emotional well-being, my excitement grew,” said Edwards. “The aggressive scaling plan, the executive director’s energy, and the opportunity to help Playworks bring the spirit of play to adults through their Corporate Recess product moved me to accept being asked to be part of the Playworks board,” continued Edwards.
“In addition to her passion for youth, credentials and history of getting things done, I fell in love with Myra’s personal philosophy of seeking inspiration from the best in each individual. Playworks helps adults see children and their behavior through a different lens in order to bring out the best in every child,” stated Playworks Wisconsin Executive Director, Deborah Lukovich.
“Myra’s passion and strategic thinking has already contributed to opening up more doors to avenues of support needed to achieve our AIM, and she hasn’t even attended her board first meeting,” stated board member Billie Jean Smith, of Michael Best.
Playworks (www.playworks.org), a leading nonprofit that partners with schools to improve the well-being of children through play, building social and emotional skills that are critical for success in school and life, has already impacted 15,000 children in 25 schools in Milwaukee and Waukesha. New flexible and creative services allow the region to bring Playworks to significantly more schools and youth-serving organizations around Wisconsin, for example to Mequon-Thiensville school district, where another 1,200 students will benefit by the Power of Play.