Bucks hosting 350 fourth and fifth graders

After a year of participating in the Playworks Junior Coach Leadership Program, 350 fourth and fifth graders, from 22 Milwaukee Public Schools, will gather at the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Friday for Playworks’ annual leadership conference, hosted this year by the Milwaukee Bucks.

Students attending Friday’s conference have completed a year’s worth of after-school leadership training, while gaining experience in leading younger kids, through Playworks’ Junior Coach Leadership Program.

Playworks’ programs, including the Junior Coach Leadership Program, work to improve the well-being of children through play, and by building social and emotional skills that are critical for success in school and life. Past participants in Playworks programs reported an over 90 percent increase in key areas of social and emotional learning such as engaging in physical and healthy activities, using appropriate conflict resolution strategies, cooperating with others, and the ability to focus on class activities.

“In working with community partners, one of the key factors the Bucks look for is measurable outcomes,” said Alicia Dupies, Bucks Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility. “Playworks ability to work with each school to help improve social-emotional learning is really important– the data speaks for itself. We’ve spent a lot of time in MPS schools leveraging Playworks programming and we consistently see inclusion, the ability to use conflict resolution strategies, and leadership in their fourth and fifth graders who participate in the Junior Coach Leadership Program.”

During Friday’s leadership conference, students will also be showcasing games they’ve created themselves that proactively solve problems by using positive language. One of those students, Chivia Moore, a student at Franklin Pierce Elementary School in Milwaukee, will receive the first ever Playworks’ Junior Coach of the Year Award for her efforts in proactively using games and positive language to resolve conflicts.

“A unique part of the Playworks approach to empowering leadership in students is a purposeful selection of students who represent varying degrees of readiness,” said Deborah Lukovich, Playworks Executive Director. “We do not just invite students who are already rising to the top, but also invite students who are likely to fall through the cracks, and the transformation of these kids is remarkable.”

“We are thankful for the support of the Milwaukee Bucks and look forward to deepening our relationship with an organization that is so important to Milwaukee,” said Playworks board member Brad Zepecki.

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