Fresh out of college in the ’80s, social worker Steve Gross created a therapeutic play program for homeless and impoverished children in Greater Boston called Project Joy. The goal of Project Joy was to help even our most vulnerable children experience the joy and wonder of childhood.
Central to our work was the belief that joyful, connecting, engaging, and empowering play was an essential part of “the cure” for early childhood trauma. In essence, play — if done right — is life-saving medicine.
Over time we learned that the best way to deliver the powerful medicine of play to children was via the frontline professionals caring for them. As a result, in 2010 we transitioned from working directly with children to supporting their professional caregivers. We currently provide a series of transformative workshops, retreats, coaching, and resources to more than14,000 teachers, social workers, and other childcare professionals to support them in their efforts to help more than 1 million kids overcome childhood trauma.
In 2011, Project Joy formally joined forces with Life is Good after catching the attention of optimists and co-founders Bert and John Jacobs, becoming the Life is Good Playmakers.