To improve the health and well-being of children by increasing opportunities for physical activity and safe, meaningful play. We improve school climates, rescue recess and help regain lost teaching time.
Aug 21, 2012

Growing in the great Northwest

Expanding our Playful Reach in the Northwest

Playworks Portland is excited to celebrate a significant grant from Kaiser Permanente Northwest’s Community Benefit Program to further Playworks’ goal of increasing opportunities for safe, meaningful play and physical activity. Funds will be used to increase the access, opportunities and impact of play for 20,000 school aged children in the Pacific Northwest region.

“We are thrilled to deepen our partnership with Kaiser Permanente Northwest to help kids be healthy and ready to learn,” says Jonathan Blasher, Playworks Portland executive director. “This support will help us continue our vision of ensuring that every child in the Pacific Northwest gets to experience a great school recess.”

As part of the one-year grant, Kaiser Permanente funds will support Playworks’:

  • Training and consultation services at over 40 schools in Cowlitz, Clark, Washington, Marion and Clackamas Counties
  • School-based direct service programming at two East Multnomah County schools
  • Junior Coach Program and Interscholastic Sports Leagues for 12-18 direct service programs in the Portland metro area

“Kaiser Permanente Northwest is dedicated to improving the health of the communities that we serve. This partnership with Playworks will allow us to support our common efforts in the region and increase the potential for schools to be a center of health, learning and well-being,” remarked Kaiser Community Benefit Manager, Molly Haynes.


Play Works for Employees

For a second year in a row, Oregon Business magazine has named Playworks Portland one of the 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon. The list is compiled to recognize nonprofits for fostering an outstanding workplace. The rankings were based on the confidential input of employees who answered questions about workplace satisfaction such as benefits, management, trust, work environment and career development. Scores and ranking of the winning100 nonprofits will appear in the October issue of Oregon Business and announced at a dinner event this Fall.

May 24, 2012

Playworks Portland Spring Report 2012

Corporate Kickball 2012
Corporate Kickball 2012

It must be Spring because it’s just about time for Playworks Portland’s Third Annual Corporate Kickball Tournament.Last year we had a number of great corporations and organizations join and support us including Nike, Portland Trail Blazers, Portland Pilots, Symantec, Columbia Sportswear, Interworks, Kaiser Permanente, Kohl's, the Children's Hospital at Legacy Emanuel and PPS Principals. Corporate Kickball is a great opportunity for you to get your staff out of the office, participate in some team-building and sneak in a little networking, all in support for nearly 6,000 kids in Portland!


Another Successful and Fun Junior Coach Conference

The Junior Coach Conference is the time when we get to celebrate the hard work of our amazing junior coaches, those 4th and 5th grade students best known for wearing bright purple shirts on the playground. Last month more than 120 junior coaches from all over Portland gathered at Rigler Elementary to play games and participate in exciting workshops to increase their leadership skills. This is a valuable time for kids to learn from each other, and for us to honor and appreciate the hard work of the students and the positive improvement they have made on their schools.

The morning began with kids from each school performing cheers and songs to introduce themselves. They then spent a fun-filled day playing team building games and practicing positive communication. After a wonderful lunch prepared by volunteers, they met professional lacrosse player, Ryan Powell who gave a talk about dedication and teamwork, then was visited by teacher and socially conscious hip hop artist Chris Riser and DJ Common Denominator for a dance party! We wrapped up with an awesome scavenger hunt.

We would especially like to give a HUGE whoosh clap to our coaches for mentoring and training their junior coaches throughout the year!


Great Recesses Reduce Bullying and Helps Learning

In one of the most rigorous scientific trials to find an effect on bullying, researchers from Mathematica Policy Research and Stanford University have found that a Playworks recess can transform school climate, paving the way for less bullying and more focus on learning. 

The study, one of the first that evaluates a recess- and play-based program, found that investing in recess and organized play can reduce bullying, improve student behavior at recess and readiness for class, and provide more time for teaching and learning. The study specifically looked at what happened when schools partnered with Playworks.

This new research finds evidence that Playworks offers a promising approach to reduce bullying, and represents the first in a series of findings.

Corporate Recess a Hit! We are thrilled that three lucky businesses were able to win a Corporate Recess for their employees this spring. Corporate Recess is a fun and active opportunity for your employees through two platforms: onsite team-building; and school based community engagement. Developed by Playworks, the national leader in play, Corporate Recess is customized for you by our local experts to transform your work space to a playground or bring your team to help transform a school playground. It engages your staff in lively playground games that promote key conflict resolution skills, teamwork and collaboration. Contact us today and schedule your Corporate Recess! 

Thank you for your support!

Cooperative Play at Junior Coach Conference
Cooperative Play at Junior Coach Conference
Study Graph
Study Graph
Corporate Recess in Action
Corporate Recess in Action


Feb 20, 2012

Playworks Portland Winter Report 2012

Girls Basketball Extravaganza
Girls Basketball Extravaganza

The 2011-12 Winter kicked-off with our 3rd annual basketball season. This year over 150 4th and 5th grade girls from 14 schools participated in our 7-week league. During that time they learned about skills and fundamentals, as well as what it means to be a student-athlete and a teammate, all while enjoy the game of basketball. This season was particularly special as it featured our first every wheelchair-bound participant, Franny. Franny was born in 2000 and has cerebral palsy. This year was her first experience ever playing on a basketball team and we're so excited she could spend it with Playworks. It was a true testament to the power of play and our core value of inclusion. To learn more about Franny's amazing journey please visit her website.

Beyond basketball and Franny's amazing story, we're excited to have launched our Parents' Blog. This will act as a venue and platform to share news and info about our Playworks Parent Engagement Initiative. Over the past couple years we've had wonderful parent volunteers and supporters who have told great stories of how Playworks has had a positive impact in their homes. In order to better meet the needs and engage the parents of our students, we're launching our initiative to provide training, information and support opportunities for Playworks' parents and eventually all parents in the Portland Metro area and beyond. Stay tuned as more unfolds this spring.

Rainy days are fun days according to a blog from one of our amazing coaches. Coach Jory from Marysville shared some great tips and ideas of ways to stay playful and active even when the Great Northwest shares liquid sunshine. Check out the rainy day blog as well as our national blog on more inclement weather game ideas.

Upcoming Spring Fun!  We're excited to be a part of the Shamrock Run on March 18th. Our group of 100+ supporters will be running a number of different race length for our Shamrock Run 4 Recess team. This day will be an amazing event and great opportunity to show the Portland community how many people care about recess and play! Come on out and join the fun!!

Corporate Recess is coming! To help build our movement and inspire play all across the region, we're launching our super exciting corporate team-building and community engagement opportunity called Corporate Recess. Corporate Recess is an opportunity for local businesses to sign up for an active, hands-on team-building activty that leads groups through recess and playground games that foster teamwork, communication, physical activity and fun. After our amazing staff provide the training for business employees, all the participants get a chance to teach the games they just learned to students at a Playworks school during recess. These exciting opportunities will be coming up beginning in March so stay tuned!

Corporate Kickball is coming! Check out our kickball link and get ready for the fun. Sign up today for the June 16th event!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for supporting meaningful play. The social-emotional learning that your support helps provide is making a difference. We look forward to a playful and prosperous 2012!!


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