LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA – February 22nd 2017 – The role of a Playworks Junior Coach is a lot more than just fun and games. These fourth and fifth graders are trained to make sure recess time is cooperative and inclusive, every single day. To celebrate their hard work on the playground, 170 Junior Coaches from Playworks Southern California were treated to an Olympic-themed retreat. After enjoying an afternoon of games, snacks and high fives, the kids were re-energized to enforce positive play year-round.
There were many accomplishments for them to celebrate: this year, Southern California Junior Coaches spread the power of healthy play to over 44,000 students in 69 low-income schools. By making sure everyone is playing fairly, Junior Coaches encourage teamwork and reduce conflict. As a result, participating schools see a decline in bullying and disciplinary referrals.
Bella, a Junior Coach, shared her pride in having this responsibility. At the retreat, she explained to the group that she “helps make a more inclusive play by saying good job and making sure everyone has a wonderful time.” Bella’s commitment to Playworks helps advance the power of safe, fun, and healthy play at school.
At their well-deserved retreat, Junior Coaches broke into teams and rotated through Olympic-themed stations. The event was modeled after Olympics in the spirit of inclusion and global understanding. Each station featured a different game, and represented an important value that every Junior Coach should embody: empowerment, inclusion, teamwork or respect.
Volunteers from the Mercedes-Benz Western Region joined the fun and showed their support of safe and healthy play. Tracey Matura, General Manager of Mercedes-Benz Western region, took the opportunity to thank the kids for all of their hard work. She shared her concerns that bullying is at an all-time high, with 1 in 4 kids reporting being bullied at school. Tracey cares deeply about confronting this issue, and recognzied all of the Junior Coaches for the role they play in helping their peers feeling safe and included. Playworks is making significant progress against bullying in schools, and is a cause that Mercedes-Benz is proud to support through Laureus Sport for Good USA.
Our thanks to the volunteers, coaches and kids who joined this event and brought out the best in one another. Our special thanks to Mercedes-Benz USA for joining us. This level of positivity is possible in every community! Learn more about Playworks plans to reach 3.5 million kids by 2020, and how you can get involved in the movement.