What inspires you? We call that “Play”

Play At The Core amplifies the impact of a broad range of organizations, that serve youth from early childhood through adolescence, by using play to drive critical workforce repair and recovery efforts. In this moment, youth-serving professionals are facing the greatest challenges of their professional lives. Our work with partners inspires healing from within and cultivates change by aligning the power of their programming for children with the systems of support available to the human services workforce.

We use play to build relationships, communicate ideas, and explore challenges – helping professionals (and the kids they work with) to thrive.

Image of child jumping © Play At The Core

Partners Served


To inspire healing and change for all through play.


We envision a world where all children and all adults feel connected, creative, and inspired through play – giving them the strength and confidence to confront their challenges, to create change, and to thrive.

  • We believe that everyone, and especially professionals who work with children, need to feel connected, creative, and inspired in their work in order to realize the full scope of their impact. 
  • We believe that we will achieve a previously unimaginable capacity for growth and progress in the human services when we align the instrumental values and approaches in youth programs with the organizational systems and professional experiences of the human services workforce. 
  • We believe that play must be an essential component of human services workforce repair and recovery – through experiences and dialog that spark the creation of ideas, connections, and new possibilities.

Our services use youth development methods to meet the challenges confronted by the human services workforce, through strategic planning, training, coaching, resource development, and performance evaluation that fortify the quality of our partners’ work from the inside out.


Personalized Program Supports, Customized to Community Assets and Needs

Quality matters, and an entire industry has emerged to capitalize on this need: producing new intervention models, curricula, and trainings. These “supports” are often developed outside of the communities they target and, failing to align with local efforts, seek to dictate change on their own terms. This undermines existing youth work, actually doing more harm than good.

Play At The Core was designed to fill the support gaps we see in the field. As practitioners ourselves, we know the best way to help youth thrive is by increasing the quantity and the quality of supportive connections in their life. By harnessing the the power of play, our work results in stronger organizations, inspired practitioners, and better outcomes for children.

Our Approach

The Impact of Play

Play At The Core supports organizational stakeholders — practitioners, leaders, children, and families — to engage directly with pressing challenges in their programs and community. This translates to youth development programming that is more holistic, intentionally-implemented, and locally-owned, with significant and sustainable gains in program quality.

Hover over each icon to discover the key components to our approach.
Play together to spark ideas, connections, and possibilities
Listen to learn partner’s stories and priorities
Challenge partners with questions that promote exploration
Learn from partners, and leverage strengths to catalyze change
We collaborate to tailor and integrate supports into partner’s systems.