Before Playworks, there was Sports for Kids, a nonprofit born in the Bay Area, California. They didn’t know it back then, more than 20 years ago, but what started as a way to address the need for guided play during recess and playtime in schools evolved into the remarkable project we know today.
Over time, Sports for Kids turned into Playworks, expanding its reach across the United States with a mission to bring healthy play and vibrant communities to schools nationwide.
All IN Sports: A Partnership for Youth Engagement
As part of Playworks Indiana’s commitment to engaging youth in meaningful afterschool activities, the organization introduced All IN Sports—a dynamic six-week program developed in collaboration with the Indiana Sports Corp. This initiative specifically targets third and fourth-grade students, addressing the need for sports programs in elementary schools.
In this partnership, Indiana Sports Corp, the local sporting commission, lends its expertise in event management and provides access to remarkable venues. Congruently, Playworks Indiana’s All IN Sports delivers soccer, flag football, girls basketball, and kickball leagues, fostering a positive relationship with sports.
Nicholas Pointer, the Program Specialist of All IN Sports, elaborates on the program’s reach, stating, “We’re currently working with ten different teams and about 150 different students across several different schools and IPS.” This initiative goes beyond merely teaching sports skills; it instills valuable lessons about teamwork and social skills, fostering positive, noncompetitive interactions among students. The program’s impact transcends physical well-being, extending to mental well-being, resulting in more engaged children both at home and in the classroom.
Pointer emphasizes that All IN Sports employs a uniform curriculum and training, ensuring consistent positive strategies across all participating schools. However, he acknowledges that the implementation may vary slightly from one school to another.
At some schools, they have full-time AmeriCorps coaches serving schools at recess. And at other schools, All IN Sports has teachers and volunteers running after-school programs. While the facilitation might vary slightly, students report having a wonderful time!
Playworks Indiana’s Decision to Streamline Their Processes
Why juggle multiple systems when you can accomplish everything through a single dashboard? Playworks Indiana’s previous process involved manual data collection, email communication via another platform, and paper registrations—a significant hassle, especially in the after-school setting, as pointed out by Nicholas Pointer.
Since joining forces with us, Playworks Indiana has experienced a significant improvement in their operations, enabling direct communication with parents and streamlining various processes, including data collection. Pointer highlights the platform’s ability to send surveys to parents and collect information on where their registrations are coming from within Marion County. Undoubtedly, as he notes, the burdensome administrative load of handling paperwork has been lifted off their shoulders.
AfterSchool HQ not only makes Pointer’s life “a little bit easier,” but the outstanding customer service and responsiveness of the team have become valuable assets. “It’s one of the things that encourages us to continue to be customers,” emphasizes Nicholas Pointer. Now, with online registration, efficient parent communication, and simplified data collection, Pointer can focus on quality management, ensuring that their practices are of the highest standard.
Playworks Indiana’s Success Story: All IN Sports
Playworks Indiana’s success with the All IN Sports program is not just a tale of achievement but an example of a project shaped and improved by data. The organization employs data as a guiding force to continually enhance its methods throughout the program. This dedication to improvement can be seen in the insights of the program’s activities:
- 91% of the students give at least three out of four thumbs up.
- The vast majority are giving four out of four.
All IN Sports’s team also knows that 89% of their students have grown in at least one of the abilities they promote: academic self-efficacy, mastery orientation, social skills, and self-management. This statistic, as noted by Pointer, serves as an indicator of positive youth development in action.
They also highlight “motivation to participate in the program” as a measurable aspect, with 93% of the students feeling encouraged by adults to do their best—an excellent indicator that positive youth development is taking place. The program actively invites students to participate and be part of the All IN Sports team; the students are responding enthusiastically.