From Playworks New England:
On April 16, Maplewood native Amy French, 24, will run in the Boston Marathon. This will be the first marathon the former collegiate athlete will complete, simultaneously raising money and awareness for an organization she loves: Playworks New England.
Playworks New England, a regional branch of a national nonprofit, leverages the power of play to transform children’s social and emotional health. Through direct-service coaching and training, Playworks partners with elementary schools, districts, and after-school programs to integrate games into recess to create a place where every kid on the playground can feel included, be active, and build valuable social and emotional skills needed to thrive in the classroom and beyond. During the 2017-2018 school year, Playworks New England is serving 75,000 students in 140 elementary schools across Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.
“When kids have opportunities for healthy and inclusive play at school, everyone benefits,” said French, who now lives in Dorchester MA and works in the Development Department for Playworks New England, supporting all fundraising initiatives of the organization. “Students learn valuable skills, like teamwork and respect, transitions from recess back to the classroom are more efficient, and the school becomes a more fun and inviting place to be.”
Growing up in Maplewood, French loved to play. As a child, she’d challenge her older brother to just about any game for a chance to beat him, learning the importance of good sportsmanship—win or lose. Her confidence grew playing with her all male cousins who showed her that girls can do anything boys can, which translated to a fearless attitude on the playground during recess at school. Trying her hand at different sports throughout her youth, she learned it’s important to try new things, but ultimately decided to focus on soccer. Through sports, she learned the importance of teamwork, especially as a member of the women’s soccer team at Washington University in St. Louis.
“I love the Playworks mission because it’s so simple, yet so effective,” said French. “Our programs make the school day more fun for kids, while making a huge impact on their physical, social and emotional development. While studies and surveys show the effectiveness of our program, I’ve also experienced first-hand the power of play to transform lives. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the opportunities I had to play.”
French is one of six Boston Marathon runners hitting the pavement for Playworks New England. Her goal is to raise $8,500 to support the cause. In December, she hosted a birthday fundraiser to raise awareness and funds for her personal fundraising campaign. On Thursday, March 1, the team will host a fundraising happy hour at Harpoon Brewery from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The event is open to the public. Tickets are $30 per person. All proceeds will directly support the Playworks New England Boston Marathon team.
“I am really inspired by the support I have received from my network through this campaign,” says French. “People are generally more willing to give when you’re putting in the work, and training for a marathon is certainly a lot of work. A marathon is a huge commitment as is a fundraising goal of $8,500, but the pay-offs in the end make it worth it. And, I’ve discovered a new love for long-distance running in the process!”
For more information about the Playworks New England Boston Marathon team or to support Amy French, visit: https://www.crowdrise.com/amyfrench26.
About Playworks New England
Playworks New England is a regional branch of a national nonprofit working to bring play and physical activity into elementary schools as a means to improve the health and well-being of children and to enhance learning. Through onsite direct-service coaching and training school faculty and staff, Playworks integrates physical activity and social and emotional learning skill-building into organized activities during recess to create a space where students feel included, are active, and build valuable social and emotional skills needed to thrive in the classroom and beyond. Entering its 12th year, Playworks New England serves more than 75,000 students in 140 elementary schools across Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire. To date, the nonprofit has served 210,000 youth. For more information, visit:http://www.playworks.org/communities/massachusetts.