Is it in You?

Is it in You?  The Role of Playfulness in Healing and Strengthening Children
Presented by Steve Gross
This presentation will explore playfulness as a basic, adaptive human trait and how it can be nurtured in practice to foster the healthy social and emotional development of children and families whose lives have been deeply impacted by both acute and/or chronic trauma.

Steve Gross, Chief Playmaker, Life Is Good Kids FoundationSteve Gross
Steve Gross, M.S.W., is the Founder and Chief Playmaker of the Life is good Playmakers, a 501(c)(3) public charity. He has devoted his career to the service of our most vulnerable children. A pioneer in utilizing exuberant, joyful play to promote resiliency in children and their caregivers, and a leader in the field of psychological trauma response, Gross is committed to the healthy development of children facing the most challenging circumstances.

The vision of the nonprofit he founded is a world where all children grow up feeling safe, loved and joyful. In order to make this vision a reality, the Life is good Playmakers partners with frontline professionals – such as teachers, social workers and child life specialists – who dedicate their lives to helping children overcome poverty, violence and illness.  These Playmakers use the power of play to build healing, life-changing relationships with the children in their care. This foundation of playfulness allows children to engage the world with passion and joy while giving them the courage and creativity to see possibilities and solutions in the face of adversity. To date over 3,500 certified Playmakers have cared for more than 210,000 children throughout the United States and Haiti.

Steve’s talents have been called upon to respond to some of the greatest catastrophes of our time, including the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, earthquakes in Haiti and Japan, and the 2012 Newtown school shooting. At the heart of his work, Steve helps others access their own playfulness so that they can build resilience and bring greater joy, connection, courage and creativity to their work and their lives.


Thank you to our sponsors! 

BC Graduate School of Social Work

Dave Thomas Foundation

UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst College of Education

UMass Amherst College of Natural Sciences

Women's Fund of Western Massachusetts

One Simple Wish

One Simple Wish offering scholarships for 50 youth to attend the Rudd-REFCA conference.  If you are a young person that has experienced foster care and you would like to learn more about how One Simple Wish can help, please at or read this FAQ.

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