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I'm Taking Play Seriously

After about 20 years of being out of college, I decided to go back to school to get my master's in social work.  This is so I can do more work helping in the Parkinson’s community.  As part of my master's program, I am currently interning at a low-income senior living facility. We provide social services, case management, and counseling services. One of my learning objectives as part of my internship is to run a group.  Since I have been Jamming for Joy with Yes, And…eXercise! for about a year now, I am convinced that improv can be beneficial for any senior group.  So I connected with Dr. Robert Cochrane, who helped me create an easy curriculum for this population of seniors.  My group is called “Play out loud”.  My group started a couple of weeks ago and I had 3 residents show up to “play” with me.  The day after the first meeting, I received a note from one of the residents who came to “Play out loud”.


When I received the note from the resident, I knew I shifted something in her.  She was committed to coming, even if she would be uncomfortable.  She told me she didn’t sleep the night before, with nerves keeping her awake.  While in class, she danced like the music was moving her.  When she reached into space and grabbed for something, it was a beautiful tropical fruit from her country.  She let go and was visibly moved by the music and games.  After the class, she asked me about how I got into improv, and I explained my involvement with Jam for Joy and the Parkinson’s community.  She was taken by my story and was so moved by the class we just had.  She told me that she now has homework to do, to “let FUN IN and goof off more!”  She has never been able to let FUN IN as an adult, having many hardships throughout her life.  So, to have the luxury to let go and have fun was something she wanted to take seriously.  The note she wrote me said, “Thank you so much for saving us from our un-functional, unhealthy, seriousness.”   The group went from 3 people in the first week, to her and the two others coming back for week two, with 2 more people!  I hope that word of mouth travels and more people continue to show up. 


This is why I am taking goofing off seriously and will try to incorporate it into all of the work I do as a social worker.  I can’t wait to continue jamming with you.


  • written by Rachel S.


Editor's note: Rachel is a fantastic player and an even better person. We're thrilled to have her join us on most Tuesdays and occasional Thursdays at the online Jam for Joy. Click here to come play with us.

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Yes…and Rachel is a superhero.

I wish for great things for her and her group.


That energy building enthusiasm is contagious. Yes…and magical. Through the power of imagination. Along with the magic created in Jam for Joy. Rachel and I enjoyed fresh squeezed lemonade under an umbrella on a warm summer's day. Saving me from my reality on one of the coldest days of winter. 


The smile’s, the laughs and the memories cultivate inspiration and hope we carry with us long after the sessions are over. I’m so happy to read how Rachel is spreading the Joy. 

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