Playworks Colorado

A nonprofit organization

$3,010 raised by 16 donors

60% complete

$5,000 Goal

Playworks helps create healthy school environments where every kid can experience the benefits of play, from the playground to the classroom and at home. Together with your help, we are making it possible for kids across Colorado to be physically active, learn valuable leadership and social emotional skills, and to have fun at school through the power of play.

Story from the Field 

My story is about Bobby, a 5th grade student, who has natural leadership skills. His peers look up to him, idolize him, but he struggled to utilize this skill in a positive way.

Like all candidates for the Junior Coach Program for fourth and fifth graders, he went through the application and interview process – a great experience for all the kids including Bobby. When Bobby became a Junior Coach, I quickly noticed that this kiddo is truly trying to find out how to be a positive leader! I was really excited by his commitment.

As a part of the program, all Junior Coaches take shifts at recesses to teach games and help create an inclusive playground for younger grades. This teaches him valuable leadership skills in communicating, mentoring, and resolving conflict all while having fun. His recess shift was kindergarten, first, and second grade. 

Two months into being a Junior Coach, he approached me, "Coach Evans, I am so frustrated because these little guys just don't listen." This was a great opportunity to help Junior Coach Bobby create a strategy. Together, we drafted his next Junior Coach lesson plan focusing on attention getters and transitions. We discussed different strategies, limit setting, relationship building, and teamwork activities–all tried and true Playworks methods.

Following our conversation and a successful lesson plan, this young man used all of those strategies–resulting in huge buy-in with the younger kids. They looked up to him so much! He successfully ran small group games that helped build strong connections and create a safe play space. 

Near the end of the program, Bobby shared with me, "You know Coach Evans, I used to hate people setting limits and disciplining me and now I see that in order to have fun, be safe, and learn, you have to have organization and discipline! I see now why it is important." He continued, "I know now that people are not trying to run my life and tell me what to do but rather, they are teaching me how to listen so I can learn, and have more fun."

Bobby continues to grow, lead, and use his leadership abilities for good. His experience as a Junior Coach is spilling into his relationships with his peers and his teachers. He's become more successful in the classroom and is motivated to work with his peers on making different and more positive choices utilizing the leadership skills he learned through Playworks.


Playworks’ mission is to improve the health and well-being of children by increasing opportunities for physical activity and safe, meaningful play.

Playworks vision is that one day every child in America will have access to safe and healthy play, every day.

Background Statement

In 1996, Playworks Founder Jill Vialet got an earful from a principal she was visiting in Oakland, California. Rather than recess being a happy, playful time for the kids, the principal lamented that it had become the most chaotic period of the school day, with kids getting hurt, getting into trouble and getting left out. In that moment Jill saw an opportunity to change recess, to make it a positive and productive time for all kids. Enter Playworks!

Playworks launched operations in Colorado at 7 schools in 2010. This school year Playworks will partner with 60 elementary schools to ensure 29,000 kids experience safe and healthy play every day.

Organization Data


Organization name

Playworks Colorado

Year Established



Youth Development

Organization Size

Large Organization


66 S Logan St, Denver, CO Suite 209
Denver, CO 80209

Service areas

Denver County, CO, US



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