Meet November’s Volunteer of the Month

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

November’s volunteer of the month is Kathleen Fawcett, who began volunteering with Playtime in January 2007. In April 2017, she was one of three volunteers who were honored for their dedicated service to Playtime during an Appreciation event. Kathleen was nominated by her fellow volunteers. Here’s what they said:

  • “Kathleen is the most dedicated, committed, and caring volunteer I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and serving with for almost eight years. She has the biggest heart for the children, and always goes out of her way to make sure their wants, needs, and desires are met.” — Pam Frasier
  • “Kathleen always works tirelessly for Playtime, especially at this time of year, putting together the Halloween costume requests and making sure each of our Playtime kids has a costume!” — Cheryl Chado
  • “Without Kathleen, there would be so many fewer cape-less children this Halloween!” — Mallory Schwarz

And here’s what she has to say about being a volunteer with Playtime:

Why did you initially get involved in Playtime?

When I first started law school and had moved to an apartment of my own for the first time there was a shooting in my N.W. Washington, D.C. neighborhood which left a 16-year-old paralyzed.  I was outraged and upset and frustrated that people in the community were not doing more or more outraged about this incident. I looked in the mirror and asked myself what I could truly say I was doing to better my community.  So I looked up many organizations on Volunteer Match and found HCPP, which had a partner site within walking distance of my home and allowed me to work with children in a unique way—beyond simply mentoring one or two kids at a time or providing tutoring services. I was hooked right away.

How has volunteering with Playtime affected you?

Playtime is such a huge part of my life. My best friends are people that I met through Playtime; many of them still volunteer with me on Thursday nights.  My schedule and work life revolve around my Playtime commitments.  Most of all, it gives me a sense of joy and of purpose, especially in times of frustrating news headlines or moments of difficulty in my own life.

Share a memorable moment as a Playtime volunteer.

There are too many to count! Recently a family, that had been regular Playtime participants, was forced to move back to D.C. General after six years away. On their first night back in the shelter, the older children rushed over to the front of the line where I was handing out backpacks for our back-to-school drive. Towards the end, I heard a quiet voice say, “I wonder if she remembers me.”  I looked up and had a flood of emotions, as I always do when seeing a family that had moved on from Playtime years before come back to D.C. General.  They are safe and smiling and happy, but circumstances fell upon them to bring them back.  “Of course I do!” I exclaimed before they had a chance to view the mixed emotions flooding my face. We caught up and they introduced me to the new members of their family.  They remembered me.  They remembered Playtime and the tiny bit of stability we gave them.  Despite the tough road they have had to travel, they remembered the good.  They remembered the helpers.  And six years later, I’m still there. Still smiling and trying to give stability and support to the hundreds of children who have entered those doors. Still doing what I can to show them I care and want to make their world better.

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

I love my work with Playtime and have formed fond memories of the hundreds of children I work with.  Halloween in particular has always been my favorite time and a priority in my work with HCPP.  Each year as a child growing up, my mom made sure that my sisters and I could be whatever we wanted to be.  Anything we could think of, she would make sure happened—often making our costumes by hand or enlisting the help of my Nana and old school pattern making.  It is absolutely essential to me that our Playtime kids get to be anything they want to be for Halloween, not limited by the resources of their parents or the circumstances of their birth. I work countless hours each year to make sure that each and every child that Playtime can touch gets to be heard, and gets to be whatever they want to be for Halloween that year.  The look of joy and happiness on their faces and the faces of their parents who are so overjoyed is worth ten times more than the effort and resources we put in.  And who wouldn’t love shopping for and giving out almost 200 costumes each year to our adorable Playtime kids!

Learn how you can be a Play Ranger, too!