Former fellow Jasmine posing with colleagues at Playworks New England

Leading the Recess Wellness Champion Program: How Play Led Me to Greater Leadership Opportunities

My time at Playworks New England has been a transformative experience! At the beginning of my fellowship term, I had a difficult time transitioning from my place of origin in New York City to moving to Boston, a city new to me. I did not have relatives and had very few friends who were in the Boston area. With the support of Playworks, my co-workers quickly became my friends and some even that I could confide in. My position at Playworks has challenged me beyond my comfort zone as it has encouraged me to practice leadership skills and hone strengths that I didn’t know existed in myself. 

One leadership opportunity that I am able to take charge of is Playworks’ involvement in the Boston Public School Wellness Champion Program. Leading a wellness module focused on physical education, Playworks is able to promote the importance of having a healthy recess program to the Boston community and their schools. In the Recess Wellness Champion program, I am able to lead training sessions in the months of December, February and April, conduct consultation visits, and offer one on one support with participating schools. Among the schools that are participating in the program are Conley Elementary, Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing , Josiah Quincy Elementary, Adams Elementary, Baldwin Learning Pilot Academy, Higginson-Lewis K-8, and James F. Condon School. It is with the hope of the Recess Wellness Champion Program that the school administrators will be able to take the knowledge offered by Playworks training services and train their schools. 

This opportunity has helped open my eyes to my capability as a leader of my organization and growing professional. It has encouraged me that I can hold space as a teacher and it has created new aspirations for myself that I can operate and manage projects for diverse communities and participants. I look forward to the remainder of the Recess Wellness Champion initiative and the transformation that the participating schools will have! 


Jasmine Murray is a first year FAO Fellow at Playworks New England.