Why I’m Running: Suzanne Foley is running Boston for Playworks New England

"Playworks New England, part of a national nonprofit, leverages the power of play to transform children’s social and emotional health."

Suzanne Foley.
Suzanne Foley. –Courtesy

In our “Why I’m Running” series, Boston Marathon runners share what’s inspiring them to make the 26.2-mile trek from Hopkinton to Boston on April 16, 2018. Editor’s note: Due to the number of submissions already received, we are no longer accepting entries for this year’s race.

Name: Suzanne Foley
Age: 28
From: Medford
Bib #: 27060

On April 16, I will run in my first Boston Marathon to support Playworks New England.

Playworks New England, part of a national nonprofit, leverages the power of play to transform children’s social and emotional health. Through direct-service coaching of students and training for school staff, Playworks partners with elementary schools, districts, and after-school programs to integrate games into recess. The purpose is to create a place where every kid on the playground during recess can feel included, be active, and build valuable social and emotional skills needed to thrive in the classroom and beyond. During the 2017-2018 school year, Playworks New England is serving 75,000 students in 140 elementary schools across Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire.

Advertisement

As an intake coordinator for Eliot Community Human Services, a nonprofit that provides therapeutic mental health services to underserved youth, I see first-hand the value of play. I handle the referrals of children who have often endured some type of trauma and/or come from families who are living in poverty.

Eliot staff frequently use games as tools for treatment. The difference is it takes place one-on-one in an office or small setting as opposed to the playground. Games and play are crucial to teaching kids life skills, such as sharing, kindness, assertiveness, self-esteem, problem solving, tolerance, the list goes on! I love that Playworks serves all types of communities. Every kid deserves a safe place to live, learn, and play.

As a child, I was raised by loving and active parents who gave me lots of opportunities to play. For 14 years I was a competitive swimmer, representing my high school and college teams at regional and national meets. I have also tackled two marathons: New York City in November 2015 and Chicago in October 2016. The Boston Marathon has been the ultimate goal of mine since I began running competitively. I am so happy that Playworks has given me the opportunity to do this!  Playworks teaches kids critical life skills at an early age that will help them to become responsible and productive members of society.

Advertisement

Check out our entire “Why I’m Running” series.

___

Editor’s note: Entries may have been lightly edited for clarity or grammar.