Preteen Program Hosts Midsummer Gala
Playtime’s Preteen Program at DC General hosted a Midsummer Gala in July. It was an invitation-only event, and the esteemed attendees varied from Nobel Peace Prize winners, Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, and Congressional Medal recipients, all ranging from ages nine to twelve.
The event began with a tie-tying station, where preteens practiced various knots such as the bow tie or the classic Windsor. They also had the opportunity to decorate formal glassware modeled after various designs from all over the world. After the reception, dinner was served. The event was catered by Playtime Project’s own volunteers, and the attendees were presented with a three course meal: cheese & grapes and salad for appetizers, chicken and pilaf for the entree, and cookies & ice cream for dessert.
The final, and most powerful part of the event was a photo gallery that included stills from the attendees’ recent accomplishments, including meeting real astronauts and authors, showcasing excellent teamwork, as well as completing regular Playtime activities. The guests went through the images and wrote encouraging messages to their peers, telling them what a great job they did or how awesome their accomplishment was.
The idea of the event started with Playtime volunteers wanting to create a unique experience where preteens could put their accomplishments into a broader context and visualize themselves being successful in future careers. Upon entering the room, each child chose their own award that made them eligible to attend the event. They were then asked to image what they would accomplish in the future to earn it.
“We wanted the preteens to have a formal dining experience that was meaningful. We thought that if they could imagine themselves as diplomats or honored guests, the experience would resonate more with them,” said Morgan Ray, Site Manager of DC General’s Preteen Program.
From practicing life-skills such as tying a tie to creating meaningful opportunities to engage in imaginative play, the support system provided by the Playtime Project volunteers is designed to build resiliency and triumph over inequity. Thank you, Playtime volunteers, for helping our participants feel inspired and grow!