GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A local nonprofit received a $50,000 donation from the group 100 Businesses That Care to expand its outreach across West Michigan.

Playground GR offers community-based programing through play and art to help children process emotions and strengthen their emotional and mental health.

“We began to see that children in our community were not getting the exposure to play-based therapy and play-based strategies to support emotional health, grief, trauma and just overall wellness,” said Executive Director of Playground GR Jacqueline Scherer.

The new donation will help the organization expand its free services to foster youth, unhoused youth and lower socioeconomic communities next year. Scherer stressed the free play-based programs are for everyone to enjoy. She said every person, from all walks of life, needs to play more.

“What we know is that the average person plays 15 minutes a day and we should be playing for four to six hours a day,” she said.

Mother Regina Dix was at Playground GR’s latest event this month in Eastern Hall. She told News 8 that the play-based therapy helps reduce the stigma of therapy specifically within the African American community.

“It’s restoring people with their inner confidence,” Dix said. “How they’re feeling, and play heals for all ages, which is really huge.”

To learn more about Playground GR and its next events, go to