Grant from Lowe’s Will Create New Preteen & Teen Space at DC General Family Shelter

Posted by on Sep 14, 2015 in Advocacy, Featured Stories, In the News |

Playtime Project Preteen and Teen Space at DC General

Major gift will enable the creation of a safe space for play, growth, and education for some of DC’s most vulnerable children and youth

The Homeless Children’s Playtime Project (HCPP) is pleased to announce that a generous Community Partners grant from the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation will create a new Preteen & Teen Space for HCPP programming, located in the DC General family shelter. The $30,000 grant will fund construction of a brand new, high-design, dedicated space for preteens and teens experiencing homelessness to play, grow, and learn. Beautiful renderings of the space, as well as “before” photographs are available for interested members of the press.

Click here to see artist’s renderings of the new Preteen & Teen Space

HCPP Executive Director Jamila Larson, LICSW, says that the construction of the new DC General Preteen & Teen Space is just the beginning of the programs renewed outreach to teenagers in families experiencing homelessness. “We’re inspired that Lowe’s has set a new standard for community giving by making a transformational investment in the youth currently housed at DC General. This beautiful program space will make a lasting difference in the lives of some of Washington, DC’s most vulnerable youth for years to come. We are thrilled that Lowe’s has chosen to partner with Playtime to provide a healthy, secure, fun space where our young people can find support to reach their goals.”

The Lowe’s Community Partners grant program is focused on improving local communities by assisting nonprofit organizations and municipalities with high-need projects ranging from facility and technology upgrades to safety improvements.

“The Lowe’s Community Partners grant program is dedicated to helping meet critical needs in our communities,” said Maureen Ausura, chairwoman of the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation. “By supporting HCPP, we’re contributing to a cause that’s important to our neighbors and customers.”

The new Preteen & Teen Space will be created through renovation of the old DC General Hospital’s lobby. Thanks to a partnership with the District of Columbia Department of Human Services and the Department of General services, the space where DC residents once came to receive medical treatment and pick up prescriptions will soon give local youth the opportunity to receive a different kind of healing. The new Playtime Project Preteen & Teen Space will serve as a launch pad for young people facing family homelessness, as they prepare to navigate the world as young adults.

The DC General Emergency Family Shelter is home to nearly 250 families. The Playtime Project’s Preteen & Teen programs provide the only therapeutic and educational weekly services for this age group of its kind in the shelter. Until now, teenagers who take part in the Playtime programs have had to share common spaces that are not always available, creating an unpredictable environment instead of the stability young people need to thrive. The new teen room will grant this age group its own private space to learn, play and heal from the trauma of homelessness.

The Homeless Children’s Playtime Project is grateful to District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser and her team for their bold leadership in granting permission for this project to move forward. “The Mayor understands that no matter how long children and families live at DC General, they are still deserving of an appropriate and beautiful space to meet their needs. We are so grateful for the city’s support of this unique public-private partnership,” said Larson.

The renovation is being designed and executed pro bono by general contractor and designer Gabe Peyton, and with renderings created by Florencia Bialet of Illustrate my Design. Support from Fulcrum Properties Group, 3M, Frager’s Hardware, individual donors, and other local contractors and business partners is making this project possible. “We thank the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation for underwriting the majority of this project and for sharing our vision of a safe, stable, and empowering youth space here in our nation’s capital.”

Founded in 1957, the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation has helped communities nationwide through financial contributions and support for employee volunteerism. Since 2007, Lowe’s and the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation together have contributed nearly $200 million to improve communities in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The renovations are expected to be completed on a volunteer Service Day at the shelter on Saturday, October 10th, at 10:00 a.m., where volunteers will work together to paint, install furniture and put the finishing touches on the space. If all goes well and the project is completed on time, an official ribbon cutting event is planned for Wednesday, October 21st, 2015 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. More details to follow!


The mission of the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project is to nurture healthy child development and reduce the effects of trauma among children living in temporary housing programs in Washington, DC. We seek to create a city that provides every opportunity for children in homeless families to succeed by ensuring consistent opportunities to play and learn, offering support services for families, and advocating for affordable housing and safe shelter. For preteens and teens at DC General Shelter, we provide tutoring, mentoring, and a safe space for young people to chart their own course. We also assist their families as they cope with the stress and upheaval of housing instability while they rebuild their lives. For more information, please visit:


Lowe’s, a FORTUNE® 50 home improvement company, has a 50-year legacy of supporting the communities it serves through programs that focus on K-12 public education and community improvement projects.  Since 2007, Lowe’s and the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation together have contributed nearly $200 million to these efforts, and for more than two decades Lowe’s Heroes employee volunteers have donated their time to make our communities better places to live. To learn more, visit and


Micah Bales
Communications & Advocacy Manager
Homeless Children’s Playtime Project

Megan Lewis