Developing Programs to Help Youth Thrive

Play At The Core amplifies the impact of a broad range of organizations, serving youth from early childhood through adolescence, by putting play at the core of everything we do. We use play to build relationships, communicate ideas, explore challenges, unlock capacity for change, and help children thrive.

Image of child jumping © Play At The Core

Partners Served


To help youth thrive by inspiring change through play. For us, play is activity that sparks the creation of: ideas, connections, and possibilities…

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

If you grew up participating in youth programs, you know the impact they can have. Research shows strong links between the quality of youth work and improved outcomes for children, especially those who face adversity.


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.