Richard Johnstin

Somerville, MA

“I believe in the importance of play in the development of our youth.”

For the past 2 years I have been a Playworks Recess Coach at the West Somerville Neighborhood School.

On its website, Playworks says that the organization believes that diminishing opportunities for unsupervised play in our society have left kids with less knowledge of traditional recess games, less experience resolving conflicts independently, and fewer strategies for making play fun, inclusive, and safe enough to avoid trips to the Principal?s office. As grown-up volunteers at recess, we lead the kids in play, introduce basic rules and set the tone so everyone is included.

The kids call me “Coach Johstin.” I was motivated to become involved in this work because I’ve always enjoyed working with children and I believe in the importance of play in the development of our youth.

I would be the first to admit that I retired too early.  My wife made me realize that I had more to give. I was able to “re-purpose” my life by working at the school and especially by becoming involved with Playworks. I believe the students at our school have greatly benefited from the Playworks program.

As for the contribution older workers can make, there is no greater asset than life experiences.