Get Kids Playing in San Francisco!

How Responsibility Allows One to Move Forward with Confidence

There is a first grader named Nelson at my school who rarely participated in games during recess. Even during Class Game Time, he would always try to blend in with the group and play as little as possible.

Despite this, he was always extremely friendly and took to following me around and asking questions during recess. I would encourage him to join in various games, even joining in the games myself to help him feel comfortable, but he still expressed no interest.

One thing Nelson did take interest in was the way I would distribute playground balls at the beginning of recess. He intently watched as I had students line up in front of the ball bin and tell me which game they wanted to play.

I saw an opportunity for Nelson to engage with other students during this time, so I started to invite him to assist me in distributing playground balls. He took the task so seriously and did such a great job at it that I had him giving out balls by himself after only about a week.

This new responsibility helped Nelson interact with his peers, something he had been struggling with all year. Slowly, he started to build enough confidence to join in some small games during recess -- once he had finished giving out all the playground balls. I also noticed him begin to participate in Class Game Time to a much larger degree.

Today, I can find Nelson playing many different games during recess. He still always starts recess with his job at the ball bin, but now he then quickly moves onto games like wallball or his favorite, kickball. On top of that, he is doing an important job that greatly helps me and the entire school. He is a great asset to the school community, and is always a positive presence on the playground.

Written by Coach Craig from Yick Wo Elementary School.

I have worked for Playworks for over 6 years and truly believe in the work we are doing to give low-income, urban kids a chance to play and be active every day at school. Our programs now have hard data to prove we are making kids feel safer at school, reducing or eliminating bullying, and increasingteaching time once lost to chaos and conflict. Help us expand our programs and improve school climateto reach even more kids!

We are in our end of the year push for donations.  Please consider giving this year as we try to raise $35,000 to support our programs in 25 elementaryschools all across the SF area.  All donations are tax deductible and go to support play and physical activity programs in low income SanFrancisco elementary schools.


Playworks San Francisco has been very busy this summer.  Check out a few of the events we have done and stay tuned for more information about our upcoming Community Kickball Event in October.

Corporate Kickball Raises Thousands for San Francisco Schools
San Francisco’s annual Corporate Kickball tournament was a smash hit this year, bringing together 11 local companies from across the Bay Area for a fun day filled with friendly competition, cheer-offs and high fives. Through the sponsorship of 24 Hour Fitness, Conestoga-Rovers and Associates, Cupertino Electric, DPR Construction, Holland & Knight, Hot Studio, Metrovation, Salesforce, and TM Financial Forensics, Playworks San Francisco raised thousands of dollars to support school programming in 26 schools across San Francisco, Marin and the Peninsula.

Junior Coach Appreciation Day Honors Tomorrow's Leaders
After a successful year of leadership training, Playworks’ junior coaches were honored and celebrated in a day-long event filled with food, fun and games at Longfellow Elementary School.
Longfellow’s playground was quickly transformed into a whirlwind of excitement as more than 200 junior coaches celebrated the culmination of their training.  The flow of the day was guided by a Passport to Play – a commemorative booklet showcasing the different “stamps” children received as they rotated through various stations.  Games of four square, human bingo, toxic waste dump and more were played to build upon the junior coach curriculum of leadership, cooperation, respect, and healthy community.
Assisting with the event was a team of more than 50 caring volunteers from  This group of volunteers provided the Junior Coaches with examples of positive role models, attesting to the importance of demonstrating leadership within one’s school, community and personal life.

Thank you for supporting Playworks and helping us make sure 11,500 kids get access to safe and inclusive play everyday in SF, Marin and the Peninsula. 

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Oakland, CA, United States

Project Leader

Playworks Education Energized

San Francisco, CA United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Get Kids Playing in San Francisco!