Welcome to PLAY!
Hi there! My name is Deanna Sheedy, founder and executive director of PLAY. Believe it or not, this is the first blog post I’ve ever written (my marketing director says it’s important!); I’ll be using this space to reflect and share my personal journey, why I started PLAY, the challenges in creating a non-profit while being a busy mother (it’s not for the faint of heart); tips for cultivating mindfulness for time-crunched parents, and perhaps most importantly, my vision for PLAY and the contributions I hope it will make to the community.
First, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to visit PLAY’s website. It’s a work in progress, but it has valuable information about our specific programs, our philosophy, schedules, and special events. I hope you enjoy reading about what we offer and why we offer mindfulness classes to young people and the professionals and adults who support them.
So how did all this get started? Why did I start PLAY? Did the world need another non-profit? So a little background on how it all began….
I’ve been working with children in some capacity since I was young. First as a babysitter, and later as a professional counselor and instructor for other non-profits. I’ve truly enjoyed spending my life helping youth and finding and developing relatable and fun ways to learn skills for being happier, self-fulfilled, and balanced.
One constant throughout my experience is I’ve seen how children always need some type of outlet to have fun, relieve stress, and a place for healthy down time and relaxation.
In my own childhood, I remember loving spending my time in my neighborhood playing hide and seek, PE at school, or listening to the stories my 4th grade teacher would read after we came in from lunch recess. I fondly recall laying our heads on the desk and just relaxing, breathing, and listening.
Reflecting back, I realized these experiences were extremely important to me. I wanted all children to have these same opportunities.
Three years ago my husband and I welcomed our first child. I couldn’t wait to provide her with these moments and to be the best mom I could. I also realized how challenging it was being a first-time mom and all the stress and expectations that can come along with being a new parent. To deal with the stress in my own life, I began practicing mindfulness myself and saw the huge benefits in my mood, patience, and overall daily functioning.
I was so grateful for discovering the simple power of those mindfulness practices that I knew I had to find a way to share it with others. From my years of being an educator and counselor with children, I gathered all the experiences, activities, and tools I felt were most effective and fun and created PLAY.
PLAY has been in existence for only a year and half and watching our rapid growth and evolution has been an amazing and rewarding experience. We’ve only just begun, and I’m so excited to share this journey with you and continue working to make positive changes in young people’s lives.