Volunteer of the Month for June
Daris McInnis learned about Playtime when he was a student at Trinity University. Later, he joined a group of friends to volunteer with our Adopt-a-Playroom program and eventually signed up as a Play Ranger in October 2017.
“Daris possesses a gentle nature when working with children in the playroom that can turn any negative into a positive,” said Site Manager Tora Burns. “He is a champion for Playtime. He has provided donations to our group that meets the needs of our families at DASH. He is a joy to work with and I appreciate his dedication.”
Why did you initially get involved in Playtime?
I understand that homelessness is traumatic and devastating to many families in D.C., and Playtime provides as an opportunity for people who want to help mitigate these factors through meaningful play experiences. As an early childhood educator, I sought to bring my experience with working with children to Playtime.
How has volunteering with Playtime affected you?
I look forward to seeing my kids at Playtime every week. Through my experience as a Play Ranger, I am much more aware of children’s resilience, along with their ability to create and spread joy in any circumstance. Volunteering with Playtime has provided a space to improve as an educator through playing and learning with children ranging from ages 3 to preteen.
Share a memorable moment as a Play Ranger.
Very recently, we had a child with deafness join our Playtime group. He was a bit shy at first, but my Playtime kids welcomed him with warm arms and practiced sign language to communicate and include him in their play. They all ended up playing freeze tag and other games on the playground at the shelter. The moment was very sweet because although he was a new face, the kids played together like they knew him for years. This is what our program is all about.
What else do you want people to know about your work with Playtime?
Playtime is amazing! Volunteering with the kids will challenge you in wonderful ways, and you will definitely find yourself stepping out of your comfort zone. But the experience is worth it..the kids are worth it. I hope to see more black men get involved with the organization and provide opportunities for the kids to see male figures who look like them. We can all create positive change for the kids because they deserve our very best.