Playworks at Powe

By Kenzie Brown

Recess at E.K. Powe is not your average free for all; instead it is run by an organization called Playworks. Playworks is a program that encourages activity, teamwork, and conflict resolution. Grant Dixon, known as Coach Grant to the students, runs Playworks at E.K. Powe and he does an amazing job. He teaches them self-control as they line up silently every day before the start of recess. He teaches them team teamwork and conflict resolution in a way that elementary school kids enjoy, through games. Even solving conflict is a game; ro sham bo solves almost any problem on the playground. It is truly amazing to watch how the kids look up to Coach Grant, hoping he will be on their team, constantly looking to receive high fives from him. This is a wonderful program that would not be possible without people like Grant Dixon.

At the beginning of this project, I ran into some problems as I was trying to capture what the people were doing. I was constantly trying to show kids playing and having fun in the context of the game. I was afraid that if I got too close people wouldn't understand what was going on, that they were playing a game, or involved in something. As the semester rolled on, I began to see this wonderful relationship between Coach Grant and the students. I realized then that Playworks wasn't about the games they were playing at all. Yes, it helps make kids active but it is much more than that. Coach Grant gives them a way to solve conflict without fighting, without the fight following the students back into the classroom. He gives them a role model, someone who gets on their level, plays, laughs, and talks to them. It was a beautiful connection I realized I had to capture. The last few times I went to shoot, I tried to focus on that connection, on Coach Grants ability to remain calm and fun recess after recess. I ended up with something I am proud of. I believe that I came a long way in shooting, in finding the story rather than just shooting what was there. I wish I had more time as I think I could grow even more in another month's time. This was truly a wonderful experience I would not trade for anything. I hope to continue with photography in some way or another in the future. Pictures capture what is many times overlooked, and I find it very beautiful.