About Us

Creating a world where life is good for all kids.

Meet the Founder

Our Mission

To harness the power of optimism to create healing, life changing relationships for kids in need.

playmakers group photo

Our History

Through an outpouring of love, optimism, experience, and expertise, Chief Playmaker, Steve Gross, MSW, and a trusted team of researchers and colleagues spent 30+ years developing the Life is Good Playmaker program.

Designed so childcare professionals can harness the power of optimism to help kids heal, the program provides transformative trainings, signature tools, and ongoing coaching, so that they can build life-changing relationships.

Thanks to the generous partnership with Life is Good, all Playmaker operating costs are covered, so 100% of donations go toward helping kids heal.

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Project Joy is Founded

Steve Gross founds Project Joy — a nonprofit organization that uses the power of joyful play to heal and strengthen homeless and impoverished children throughout Greater Boston. Steve is fueled by a powerful belief that every child deserves a happy childhood.

Help Turkey after Earthquake

Recognized as a powerful treatment for early childhood trauma, Project Joy is contracted by the Center for Trauma Psychology to help design a therapeutic, play-based intervention to support the recovery of thousands of children traumatized by a massive earthquake in Elâzığ, Turkey. This project was coordinated by the Turkish Ministry of Education.

Caring for the Caregiver

In an effort to help even more children, Steve Gross flips Project Joy’s model from working directly with children to training groups of childcare professionals in the Project Joy Approach. The new direction helps communities heal from within and gives birth to a whole new generation of Project Joy Playmakers.

Help after Hurricane Katrina

Following Hurricane Katrina, Mississippi State University hires Project Joy to train to hundreds of early childhood educators in their work so they can rebuild a sense of safety, joy, and community for thousands of the Gulf Coast's most impacted children.

The Life is Good Playmakers

Recognizing Project Joy’s ability to spread the power of optimism to children in times of great adversity, Life is Good invites Project Joy to be the sole social mission of the brand. Project Joy officially becomes The Life is Good Playmakers.

Gerye Jwa (Joy Warriors) is Born

In the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the Life is Good Playmakers partners with Haitian community leaders to develop a Playmaker training of trainers program in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. This initiative enables a small group of Haitian Playmakers (known in the community as Gerye Jwa - Haitian Creole for Joy Warriors) to train over 2,000 local childcare professionals in the Playmaker Program.

A New Approach

The Playmaker model evolves from training individual childcare professionals to providing training to entire social service organizations in the fields of education, health, and enrichment. These organizational partnerships help create sustainable, systemic improvements to the quality of care that these organizations are able to deliver to the children and families they serve.

Yearly Donation of 10%

Life is Good commits to a yearly donation of 10% of its net profits to the Playmaker Program. The generous donation covers all of Life is Good Kids Playmakers operating costs.

Healing through Partnerships

The Life is Good Playmakers partners with some of the most influential social service organizations in the country, widening the scope and impact of their work.  National Head Start, the YMCA, the Boys & Girls Club of Boston, and major children’s hospitals across the country utilize the Playmaker Approach in creating optimal learning and healing environments for children.

Going Digital

Platform development begins for a new online learning experience that will allow Life is Good Playmakers to scale their program. Together with technology partner Thought Industries, the Life is Good Playmakers pilots their first online course, Compassion is a Superpower, featuring one of 10 new mini-documentaries that capture the art, soul, and science of the Life is Good Superpowers.

Meet Steve Gross

Steve Gross

Founder & Chief Playmaker

Steve Gross is a clinical social worker and a pioneer in the field of using playful engagement and relationships to overcome the devastating impact of early childhood trauma.

About Steve

Steve Gross, M.S.W., is the founder and chief playmaker of the Life is Good Kids Foundation, a non-profit that spreads the power optimism to kids who need it most.

Steve’s signature approach has been widely adapted across the country and throughout the world in response to the social and emotional needs of children deeply impacted by poverty, violence and illness. In addition to his work in the social sector, Steve has worked with many corporations such as Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Million Dollar Roundtable Club, and IBM to demonstrate how optimistic leaders can inspire people and organizations through times of change.

Steve loves to talk to organizations about

How optimism and the 10 Life is Good Superpowers can transform work environments into engaging, compassionate places primed for success. With an emphasis on building meaningful connections, this keynote is an ideal follow-up to any of our brand speakers.

Steve loves to talk to non-profits about

The importance of discovering your own sense of optimism before cultivating it in others. Steve shares a wealth of experience working with childcare providers and kids impacted by trauma to show the importance of cultivating connected, loving, trusted relationships and prioritizing self-care—as you care for others.

Steve’s keynotes directly benefit the Life is Good Kids Foundation’s Playmaker Program, which impacts the lives of over 1 million children annually.

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