Spotlight on Playworks

Remember the good old days of recess?  Getting bullied, withstanding pure chaos and melting on the concrete?  Often thought of as a time of freedom and joy, recess far too often becomes the ground for reinforcing strife, exclusion, and instability.   Oakland-based Playworks is rebuilding recess for maximum fun, nationwide, and teachers are noticing the difference.   

playworks2Playworks, launched in 1996 by founder and Ceo, Jill Vialet, seeks to “Leverage the power of safe, fun, and healthy play at school every day.”  Schools frequently lack the capacity to thoroughly supervise and manage recess time.  Yet, if done correctly (with spirit and technique), students can return to their classrooms feeling included, motivated, and re-focused for the rest of their day.  Capitalizing on this time, Playworks is teaching youth social emotional learning skills and leadership through organized games and reflection.  A teacher at Grape Street Elementary school in Los Angeles says:  

“The bullying has stopped. The students are all engaged in one of the many choices they have to pursue during recess.  They resolve conflicts in class using rock-paper-scissors.”

Thus far, Playworks is in schoolyards in 23 cities, serving 185,000 students, another 275,000 through training services, and teachers have reported that they have recovered 20 hours in teaching time due to smoother transitions– trust me, as a former teacher and youth-worker, transitions are critical.  

Playworks is teaching youth social emotional learning skills and leadership through organized games and reflection.

playworks
Playworks in Southern California

LikeMinded has partnered with Playworks because of its visible impact in local,underprivileged, communities, as well at its broader capacity for transforming schools and learning spaces nationwide.  Not only does Playworks employ year-long coaches to lead games, it also trains youth and adults to be play leaders.    

Images copied from Copperview Elementary School:< copperview.canyonsdistrict.org> and Playworks: <playworks.org>.  Sep 29th, 2015. 

Spotlight on Playworks

Likeminded’s Push for Vital Communities

A decade ago, LikeMinded co-founder Lynn Luckow initiated a conversation about storytelling in the nonprofit and philanthropic worlds.   Pointing to the role of civil society in generating counter-narratives, sociologist Robert Bella writes, “Civil society contrasts the public focus with the market’s material and private focus, and helps generate a public conversation and a richer quality of life.”  Luckow was advancing the place of community vitality in a healthy democracy and calling for success stories to be gathered as a strategic resource.

Luckow was advancing the place of community vitality in a healthy democracy and calling for success stories to be gathered as a strategic resource.

At this time in history focus on the local community as a critical site of change was not fully acknowledged.  However, emphasis on establishing vibrant, equitable, and sustainable communities has emerged alongside technologies of social media and crowdfunding. Neighbors are organizing community days, demanding interaction, and establishing a placemaking movement.  Yet barriers still inhibit organizations and individuals from working together to realize shared community aspirations.  
With critical input from advisors and through interviews and focus groups, Luckow determined that community-based organizations needed a platform to share stories of success and a streamlined process of fundraising.  Sharing stories creates a clearer narrative of what works and what’s happening, while inspiring action on a local level.  The mission of LikeMinded is to fund projects for the common good, while facilitating the partnerships that will enable shared impact that reinforces human cohesiveness.  

Through our crowdfunding platform, the pathway to funding quality projects is made accessible to everyday people (no more $500 a plate dry chicken dinners), and the much-needed 360º perspective of collective imagination is rendered visible. LikeMinded seeks to harness the power of crowdfunding, networks of support via social media, and people power to enhance local collaboration and retool American civic capacity across communities.   

Likeminded’s Push for Vital Communities