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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Heroes of the Week: Playworks Wisconsin Volunteers and Coaches

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Playworks is a national nonprofit organization founded in 1995 that helps transform recess from a chaotic, stressful time for kids and teachers to a positive and productive time for all children and adults involved. Playworks sends trained, full-time program coordinators called coaches to low-income, urban schools that help create an environment where kids can thrive, teaching the value of fair play, compassion, respect and conflict resolution during recess and inside the classroom through fun activities and games. Currently, the organization serves more than 380 schools in 23 cities, reaching more than 425,000 students directly and through training services in additional schools and community organizations.

Playworks expanded to Wisconsin in 2012 and launched in seven Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) locations. Playworks Wisconsin now serves 12 MPS schools, touching the lives of nearly 6,000 kids every day. Participating schools pay only part of the program fee, with Playworks raising the rest of the money through corporate grants, foundation gifts and individual contributions.

“Although we have staff that implements our program year round, we depend on ongoing year-round and one-time volunteers to assist with recess implementation, league support, event assistance and more,” says Kristina Olkowski, executive director of Playworks Wisconsin.

Playworks Wisconsin is currently seeking volunteers to help with recess support, developmental sports league support (referees, hospitality, assistant coach positions) and volunteers interested in offering fundraising support during events. For those interested in volunteering, contact Katie Davis at 414-220-4301 or kdavis@playworks.com. For schools interested in bringing Playworks to their locations, contact Dan Schiller at the number above or at dschiller@playworks.org. For more information about Playworks Wisconsin and additional contact information, visit playworks.org/communities/Wisconsin.