Give More Children The Chance to Play
by Jamila Larson, Executive Director
Last week children in all our programs enjoyed a birthday party, sponsored by generous businesses whose staff brought all kinds of fun games, great food, balloons, decorations, and lots of joy!
Many of us take birthday parties for granted—some even spend hundreds of dollars on lavish events for their children. Sadly, families living in shelters across the city don’t have the means to organize such birthday parties, so once a quarter we host a party for all the children celebrating a birthday in those three months. We are fortunate, and extremely grateful, to have generous donors like you who help organize our quarterly parties.
We are proud to create memorable experiences like these for children and families experiencing homelessness. But these precious moments can’t happen without you!
This spring, Playtime is participating in the “A Community Thrives” program, sponsored by the USA TODAY NETWORK, which is challenging nonprofit organizations across the country to raise funds for a chance to win money for their programs. We were selected to raise $6,000, and if we do, we get the chance to win up to $25,000 more!
We’re especially excited to be part of this fundraising event because Playtime recently received permission to expand programming at the Quality Inn overflow shelter on New York Avenue. This means we can now add two more nights of play, creating a robust program for children ages 6 months to 7 years and preteens ages 8 to 12. We had been offering one night a week for these two age groups, but now they will each get two nights of play. This means two nights each week for children to connect with a caring adult, build self-confidence, take healthy risks, solve problems creatively, develop new friendships, and enjoy a nutritious snack.
The funds raised through the USA TODAY campaign, along with the grant, will ensure we can support the staff and trained volunteers needed to ensure those extra nights are successful. Your support will make a big impact on the lives of children living in this converted shelter, providing birthday party joy every quarter and giving the children more evenings to play, which is integral to brain development, emotional regulation, establishing relationships, and so much more.
Thank you to all who have contributed so far — from the $10 donation to the $1,000 donation, we are grateful for each one! A special thank you to our volunteers Karen Bates and Daris McInnis, who created fundraising pages and encouraged their networks to give.
Your support gives more children the chance to play!