Charity Feature: Playworks Arizona

Oct 30, 2017

On average, 160,000 children skip school every day in the United States because they are bullied.

In an effort to stop bad behavior, anti-bullying programs help educate children on how to properly handle their unsatisfactory actions toward others.

Playworks is a national nonprofit that helps children develop the social and emotional skills they need to be successful in life.  This is accomplished by utilizing children’s innate love of play. When kids play well, they find delight in physical activity, develop social skills and return to the classroom prepared to learn.

The place where kids most commonly get in trouble is on the playground at recess.

“Prior to Playworks’ arrival, there were about 400 office referrals per year at Loma Linda,” said Suzanne Percy, development director for Playworks. “It now averages about four per year.”

Playworks has been serving the Valley since 2011, providing coaches and onsite support and training. Playworks Arizona partners with 77 schools and youth organizations and serves 47,000 kids daily. By 2020, the Playworks organization hopes to expand activities to 3.5 million children and 7,000 elementary schools nationwide.

To help with this initiative, Fiesta Bowl Charities granted Playworks Arizona $100,000 during its 2017-18 grant cycle. The funding will continue to develop Playworks throughout Phoenix, starting with new programs in the Avondale Elementary School District.

“These grants are hugely important,” said Percy. “For the schools we serve, our impact is felt not only on the playground, but in classrooms and even at home. More often than not, our schools see a dynamic shift in their school culture to one of joy, inclusion and respect.”

Through their year-round, on-site support services, Playworks instills their four core values: respect, inclusion, healthy play and healthy community, through play kids gain crucial social and emotional skills that can be used in life.

Bullying has become a serious issue in schools across the nation, a problem that leads to fear, a feeling of being unsafe attending school and, ultimately, a huge loss of learning. At a Playworks school kids want to come school everyday – they feel safe, they feel included and they are eager to learn.

“Playworks is an amazing organization, it transforms the lives of children who need it the most through active play and positive reinforcement,” said Jose Moreno, Fiesta Bowl Senior Director of Marketing and Community Relations. “We all have been on a recess yard in our lifetime and understand how scary it can be for so many. Playworks provides a safe environment for all kids, focusing on the power of inclusion and anti-bullying.”

Fiesta Bowl Charities has sponsored numerous Playworks events including their Power Breakfast, kickball tournament, beautification projects, company recess with kids, and provided hundreds of tickets for kids throughout the city to attend the Cactus Bowl. Last year, the two organizations teamed up with United Healthcare to break the Guinness world record for the longest high five chain with 3,473 participants.

Including the most recent $100,000 grant, Fiesta Bowl Charities has donated $190,000 to further the good work of Playworks in Arizona over the last four years.

For more information on Playworks AZ and how you can get involved CLICK HERE.