Deborah Ortiz

Second Annual Playworks Houston Citywide Kickball Challenge

Deborah Ortiz 's fundraiser for Playworks

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Basketball Jamboree

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Kids learning the game

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Teaching core values

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Huddling up with Coach Donte

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Recess is about FUN and getting along!

Proceeds support children by providing safe, healthy and inclusive play and physical activity to Houston schools.

I am excited about leading Playworks and bringing this unique and far-reaching program to Houston and surrounding communities. We work with principals, teachers and parents who need our help. Playworks brings play back into the schools. Our coaches stop the chaos and shift behaviors to improve the climate at low-income schools. Teachers tell us that because of us, kids return to class ready to learn and they save time by not having to resolve conflict. We make it possible for kids to enjoy being in school by making recess a safe, healthy and fun time for all children.

One of our coaches told me about Celeste and her love of basketball. Here's her story as told by Coach Lawrence:

As I received my basketball sign-up list I noticed an unfamiliar name. I had not seen this name in my After-School Program, Recess, Junior Coach application, or anywhere else. Celeste had not been involved with any programs at my school so I was excited to see she wanted to be involved with the girls’ basketball team.

We had several practices, and she was the first to practice and the last to leave. She did really well in our Extravaganza, which helped establish her confidence level. Several weeks went by, and I noticed she played every day in recess. Her skills with dribbling, passing and shooting the basketball kept on improving.

The following Monday, she checked out a basketball and began shooting with several classmates and eventually participated in a game of Around the World. The next day she was involved in a basketball game with many of the students that had played the day before. Tournament day came and she did great!

When I saw her mother, I mentioned about how wonderful it was that Celeste had found basketball. I learned that Celeste’s dad has recently returned to their home after spending time in jail. At first Celeste was angry and wouldn’t have anything to do with him. But then Celeste told her parents about wanting to play basketball and her father said he would help her. They began practicing every day after school. Basketball drew them together as father and daughter. Being part of the Basketball Team allowed Celeste to show to herself and others that she can play - and gave her dad a chance to become re-involved in her life, and show how proud he was of her.

This is just one example of how we truly are changing lives and impacting the community as a whole.

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Organization Information

380 Washington St
Oakland, CA 94607




We believe in the power of play to bring out the best in every kid.

EIN: 943251867

Reports: Guidestar

External Web Addresses:

$105 RAISED OF $1,500 GOAL
$0 $1,500
($55 online, $50 offline)

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