Playtime Partners with Two More Overflow Shelters

Posted by on May 17, 2018 in Featured Stories |

With the closure of D.C. General Family Shelter now underway, the Playtime Project is adding two new shelter partner sites to bring play to more children living in the city’s overflow shelter hotels. Currently at two transitional housing facilities, D.C. General, and the Quality Inn on New York Avenue, Playtime will launch its programming this fall at the Days Inn and the Holiday Inn Express, both on New York Avenue.

“There are over 300 families living in overflow shelter hotels with more than 800 children, representing the vast majority of children and families experiencing homelessness in our nation’s capital,” said Jamila Larson, Executive Director of the Playtime Project. “Only three of the new Short-Term Housing facilities are expected to open this fall, leaving many families with no choice but to be moved into one of the hotels. We appreciate D.C.’s Department of Human Services, the Community Partnership, Days Inn and Holiday Inn Express for partnering with us to bring children’s programming to these sites for the very first time.”

Playtime Project is seeking funding and volunteers to ensure Playtime can continue serving children at these two additional sites where there are otherwise no programs or specialized services for children.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, play is essential for the cognitive, physical, and emotional well-being of children both at home and at school. Play is especially important for children living in transition as a healing force to cope and restore normalcy to their lives.

Playtime staff and volunteers are trained to harness the therapeutic and educational benefits of play by engaging youth cognitively, physically and emotionally, allowing children and youth to strengthen social-emotional and problem-solving skills while building healthy relationships with caring adults and peers. Playtime’s programming includes resilience-building curriculum activities, healthy snacks, arts programming, dress-up, reading, free play and field trips.

“The Homeless Children’s Playtime Project believes every child deserves to access the power of play, which many children in temporary housing programs are denied,” said Larson. “We know that most children in homeless families have experienced trauma and therefore it is our collective responsibility to ensure that systems are responsive to their needs. We take that responsibility very seriously.”

The Playtime Project has been serving the children and families at D.C. General for the past 10 years as a private partner, providing programs for infants through teens four evenings per week, as well as parenting and social work services. In addition to these two new sites, Playtime will continue serving children at its two transitional housing partner sites in D.C., as well as at the Quality Inn, where it launched programming in January 2017.

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