By: Playmaker, Cheryl Horney

Cheryl Horney, third from the left, together with my team following a Playmaker retreat at Wu Yee Children’s Services in San Francisco this spring.

I first learned of the Life is Good Kids Foundation and their coaching program called, Playmakers, when I was a teacher. I was fresh out of college, working with preschoolers who had spent their earliest years in homeless shelters or had been impacted by trauma. I had just gotten started, but I was already beginning to question if I had what it takes to stay in this field and truly help our most vulnerable kids.

The Life is Good Kids Foundation’s Playmaker Program helped me discover that I did—that I do.

Playmakers provided a safe place to explore the science behind the importance of both personal and professional development.  The program helped me create my own plan and process for fostering authentic relationships withthe kids I cared for, as well as the adults on my team.

They gave me permission to prioritize my own care and the essential tools I needed to improve the quality of care I delivered. They showed me how to turn a parachute into a magic carpet that can actually lift a kid out of despair and into possibility. They taught me how to “goodify” a game as simple as musical chairs or something as routine as naptime into a way to reach even the most scared, withdrawn, and rightfully distrustful kiddo.

Playmakers kept me in the field by showing me how to develop and maintain an even more open, loving, creative, and optimistic disposition.

Today, nearly 14 years later, I’m still in the field as a Playmaker and now as the child development program director at Wu-Yee Children’s Services in San Francisco.

I oversee our Child Development Program that serves nearly 600 children. I support and serve on a team with approximately 180 staff and child development professionals, helping to grow the good for children, families, and individuals every single day.

When our leadership team asked the question, “How do we best serve our kids by making the best investments in our team?” we knew exactly how to answer; “We make them Playmakers.”

Now, Wu Yee is a Deep Impact Partner with the Life is Good Kids Foundation. Together, we’re continuing to build a world where life can be good for all kids—and for all of those who take care of them.

Thank you, Cheryl, for continuing to spread the power of optimism through your Playmaker practice. To send a note of gratitude to Cheryl or to nominate a Playmaker in your life for a future spotlight, click the “Submit” button below.