There’s a lot a child can learn and gain when they’re at play. In between the thrills, joyful excitement, exercise and fun enjoyed at a typical playground, life lessons await at every turn. Games and activities have the capacity to protect, inform and empower both kids and adults…something Right To Play knows all too well. This worldwide organization harnesses the power of educational games to uplift and improve the lives of children in need.
Founded by four-time Olympic gold medalist Johann Olav Koss, local volunteer coaches and staff across the globe have been managing programs since 2000 – all working towards the same goal – to help build life skills and healthy, safe environments for youths living throughout Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and North America. In addition to the physical health benefits that exercise and games provide, there’s a social and emotional component to Right To Play that extends beyond “child’s play.” The beneficial, long-lasting change that follows energizes families and entire communities.
Each week, approximately 1.9 million children around the world benefit from Right To Play programs, which touch upon the following aspects:
Connecting More Children to Quality Education
Right To Play fills classrooms with eager-to-learn students through the efforts of community and youth leaders that work towards inspiring children to enroll in school and regularly participate in class. Some Junior Leaders in the community are as young as eight years old!
Right To Play trains local teachers and coaches on how to make education more exciting, enticing and inviting. Leadership clubs also form at the school level.
As a result, Right To Play programs have seen attendance rates soar and have led to children staying engaged, focused, and active longer at school. They’re looking forward to taking their seat, raising their hands, and contributing to program activities. It’s this kind of energy that trickles down to the next generation of students! In just three short months, one Right To Play Leadership Club encouraged an impressive 78 children to enroll and attend school every day.
Improving Youth and Community Health
Anyone up for a game of ‘Mosquito Tag?’ The smiles on the faces of children at play are far-reaching, but Right To Play programs are so much more than encouraging everyday exercise. They use games and play activities to empower kids with the skills, knowledge and motivation needed to avoid preventable disease. Coaches are trained to establish open lines of communication and dialogue with kids on significant, local health issues, such as malaria, HIV and AIDS, sexual health, and everyday hygiene practices. Children learn essential life-saving lessons and form healthy habits (like how to use a mosquito net or how to properly wash their hands). For instance, a game of ‘Water Relay’ stresses the importance of hand washing and cleanliness that keeps families, classmates, and themselves healthier.
Building Peaceful Communities
The delight heard in the laugh of a child who’s enthralled in play is literally contagious. It’s the kind of positive vibes that Right To Play sends out through their programs. This powerful energy invigorates communities, and helps create a happier, more peaceful environment that everyone can thrive better in.
A game of Right To Play ‘Protector Dodgeball’ comes with a twist. The goal isn’t to hit an opponent; it’s all about protecting teammates. ‘Volley Tennis’ concentrates on building communication skills, and places less emphasis on how many points are scored.
From the bliss of scoring their first soccer goal to the warmth felt when thoughtful teamwork pays off, these are the kinds of feelings that everyone (no matter their ethnicity, culture or community barriers they face) can appreciate, enjoy, and achieve growth from. Skills learned from play doesn’t always involve hand-eye coordination, speed and accuracy, it’s the lessons learned along the way that improves the emotional and social health of participants. In Pakistan, Right To Play introduces girls to games and activities that help them clear gender and cultural hurdles within their communities.
Right To Play has offices in the United States, Canada, Norway, Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The impact of their programs is increasingly felt across the world, and thrives off of the actions of volunteers, partnerships, athlete ambassadors (including more than 300 professional and Olympic sports figures), and donations ranging from the likes of corporations to savvy shoppers, like you.
Simply select Right To Play as your nonprofit of choice when donating all or a portion of your cash back savings towards enriching the lives of youths with programs centered on building teamwork, self-esteem, safety, and a better quality of life.
And, if you haven’t already, downloading the Giving Assistant Button is an excellent way to stay on top of the latest deals and discounts that can help your donation to Right To Play grow.