Meet August’s Volunteer of the Month

Posted by on Aug 7, 2017 in Featured Stories, Volunteer |

Heather Casciato, left, participates in the 5K walk/run with fellow volunteers Lauren Waterhouse (middle) and Ashley Moore (right)

Our latest outstanding volunteer of the  month is Heather Casciato, who has been a volunteer for almost seven years. Heather first joined Playtime at Turning Point Center for Women and Children. In January, she joined the team, helping to establish the structure and organization of evening programming at the Quality Inn overflow shelter on New York Avenue, Playtime’s newest site.

“Heather has been a star volunteer every month,” said Tiesha Edwards, Site Manager at the motel. “She will always show up no matter what! She has shown up when she has not been feeling well, she has shown up after a long day of work, and she always arrives early to set up for Playtime. Since she has been a volunteer at Quality Inn, Heather has done a wonderful job. When she shows up, she is there to make the evening flow well for the children, volunteers, and the site manager. Every time I ask Heather to help or take the lead on a activity she is always ready and that is why she deserves volunteer of the month every month!”

Why did you initially get involved in Playtime?

I have always thought volunteering is important and wherever I’ve lived I’ve found something to be involved with. So when I moved to D.C., I asked around for ideas and one of my coworkers was volunteering for Turning Point at the time and told me about Playtime. I love kids so it seemed like a win-win.

How has volunteering with Playtime affected you?

It has affected me in lots of ways, but I would say two of the biggest are: 1) feeling like I’m accomplishing something in the time I spend with the kids. I can see how the strategies we apply to making play a way to build skills, confidence and trust are incredibly effective, and what a positive impact it has, and 2) it has opened my eyes to and kept me engaged with a broader D.C. community than I would otherwise be exposed to. It’s so important to be aware of homelessness in D.C., how it affects children and families, and ways that we all can get involved.

Share a memorable moment as a Playtime volunteer.

There’s really way too many to share!

What else do you want people to know about your work with Playtime?

Over the last six years, I’ve seen Playtime do a fantastic job of maximizing the impact it has with the resources it is able to obtain. With ever-increasing awareness and support, Playtime has matched (and I would say exceeded) expectations of what the program is able to accomplish, and as support grows, I know Playtime’s impact will continue to grow. So keep the support coming!

Learn how you can be a Play Ranger, too!