Group Volunteers Make Birthdays Extra Special
Playtime recently welcomed volunteers from Sparrows Landing, NeighborWorks, and Service Year, with each organization sponsoring one or two of our quarterly birthday bashes. Children at D.C. General, Quality Inn, DASH Transitional Living Program and Turning Point Center for Women and Children celebrated birthdays from the past three months, as well as the end of the school year.
“Today is everyone’s birthday,” said Michelai Lowe, Site Manager for D.C. General’s Teen and Preteen programs, before the activities got started. The preteens responded with a cheer and pumped their fists toward the ceiling.
All the parties included cupcakes, pizza, and games courtesy of the group volunteers.
Sparrows Landing, a nonprofit volunteer organization with a mission of “Restoring Hope to The Hopeless,” sponsored the party at D.C. General. The organization delivers coffee and food to people experiencing homelessness in Ward 8. Felicia Simms, Sparrows Landing Program Director, led the group, which organized fun activities for the children including timed cup stacking and balloon games. Participants also had to guess how many Hershey’s chocolate kisses were in a jar, with the full jar as the prize. Game winners received prizes that included board games such as Guess Who? One 12-year-old girl who won a game where she had to keep a balloon off the ground without using her hands, selected a prize and said it was for her younger sister.
Many of the volunteers from Sparrows Landing said how much they loved giving back, and the smiles on their faces communicated that while they talked and played with the kids.
Meanwhile at Turning Point, NeighborWorks America, which works to create change at the local level in affordable housing and community development, organized dress-up games and arts and craft activities for the children. They even created a spa-like session where volunteers and kids took turns painting each other’s nails!
Service Year – an initiative by Service Year Alliance that organizes a year of service for volunteers and matches them with an area in need – hosted carnival-themed parties at both DASH and Quality Inn, featuring music and face-painting. One activity at DASH had the children test their strength in push-up and sit-up competitions. Boys and girls competed against volunteers and each other to see who could do the most in thirty seconds. Cornhole was also a very popular game among the kids and volunteers. One volunteer lost three consecutive games to a girl who showed no mercy as she sunk bag after bag.
One boy, who had been overwhelmed by all the new faces at first and reluctant to join in any activities, soon became friends with one of the male volunteers. They began coloring and even added a new game to see who could jump the highest. Watching the young boy grow more and more comfortable with interacting and playing with the Service Year volunteer was a real treat for those who had worried he wouldn’t open up.
Each party brought a lot of joy to the children, and the adults. We love having groups join us for special occasions. If you want to get involved with birthday parties at the Playtime Project but don’t have time to volunteer, we encourage you to turn your birthday celebration into action for children and teens experiencing homelessness. Thank you to all the group volunteers for making our quarterly birthday celebrations special!