Along Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, rates of extreme childhood poverty have been among the highest in the country for decades. In August of 2005, these long-standing issues of poverty and hardship were severely compounded when Hurricane Katrina, one of the most devastating disasters in U.S. history, hit its coastal areas.
Due to the intensity of the storm and the painfully slow recovery, Katrina has caused significant trauma throughout the region. In the two years following Katrina, the Life is good Playmakers trained hundreds of preschool teachers to use a play-based group intervention name Powerplay. In a controlled study, participating children became more joyful, pro-social and independent. Read the full reasearch study .
We have continued to support existing Gulf Coast Playmakers as well as certify new ones. In 2010, at the request of Child Development Resources (CDR) at The University of Alabama, the Life is good Playmakers trained 300 social workers, clinicians and early childhood educators from the greater Tuscaloosa community. These relationships enabled us to provide, much-needed support to this tornado-ravaged community in 2011.
The long-term impact of our work is best illustrated by Camp Joy, a summer camp created by Tina Brown, a Certified Playmaker in Mississippi. A tireless champion, Tina is fiercely dedicated to protecting the social, emotional and spiritual well-being of the children in her care. In tribute to our organization, which was then called Project Joy, Tina opened Camp Joy in the summer of 2006. Annually her camp provides a free weeklong experience of pure playfulness, joy, connection, and loving care for young children in a beautiful rural setting. Each year many return because of the strong lasting bonds they have with Tina and the other children. Through the support of donations, Tina has created an oasis for children whose lives are otherwise a daily struggle. Tina Browns’ story provides a compelling example of the far-reaching positive impact that can be achieved through wise investment in a single, committed childcare professional.