OAKLAND, Calif., Sept. 13, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Playworks (www.playworks.org), a leading nonprofit that brings safe and healthy play to more than 1,200 schools and 700,000 children annually, today announced its intention to dramatically expand both the current number of students enrolled in Playworks programs as well as reach hundreds of thousands of children through free resources and training for schools over the next four years - and the new program is backed by $26 million in new funding commitments. Under the Playworks AIM vision, by the end of 2020 some 3.5 million kids in 7,000 elementary schools will experience safe and healthy play every day—allowing them to feel included, be active, and build life-long social and emotional skills.
Playworks AIM will be funded in part by $26 million in new funding commitments. The new funding comes principally from four donors: the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust, the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Jenesis Group, and the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation.
"We've accomplished so much in the past 20 years, and yet in a way our journey is just beginning," said Jill Vialet, Playworks CEO and founder. "We know from Malcolm Gladwell and others that 10% of a population is the tipping point where social change begins to snowball. When we make safe, healthy play a priority at 7,000 elementary schools— in other words, just over 10% of all elementary schools in the U.S.—we will spark a national movement."
Playworks, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, provides services for elementary schools and youth-serving organizations around the country. These services have helped increase physical activity, deepen social and emotional learning, and develop conflict resolution skills among kids on the playground every day – which has led to Playworks schools becoming safer, and full of children who go back to class ready to learn.
In order to achieve the AIM vision, Playworks plans to expand current coaching and training services and will also add new services such as team-based online learning and strategic district support to match the best programs for each school. With a mission to inspire all schools to embrace and advocate for play, Playworks plans to provide free services to help bring the AIM vision to life. The organization will also further ramp up its partnership, fundraising and marketing efforts to spark a campaign for play.
According to a 2015 study published in the American Journal of Public Health, students who develop strong social and emotional skills are twice as likely to graduate from college and 46% more likely to have a full-time job by age 25 than their peers.
"Playworks has already gotten further and achieved more than any of us could have dreamed – but there are still far too many children in this country, many of them in lower income schools, who don't have access to safe and healthy play every day," said Elizabeth Cushing, president of Playworks. "AIM is our moon shot. It is our urgent demand to create a national campaign around recess and play, and thanks to the generosity of our funders, it starts now."
To learn more about Playworks and the AIM vision, please visit 2020.playworks.org.
Playworks is the leading national nonprofit leveraging the power of play before, during, and after school to transform children's physical and emotional health. Playworks currently serves more than 1200 schools in 23 cities, and reaches more than 700,000 students directly and through professional training services. Through inclusive, safe, and healthy play, Playworks is helping to improve students' behavior and their attitude towards school; increasing students' level of daily physical activity; fostering more empathetic kids; and ultimately developing more engaged and productive citizens. We change kids' experience of school through fun active play every school day. For more information, visit www.playworks.org.
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