During the day, Lauren is Program Coordinator for the Division of Trauma and Burn Surgery at Children’s National Health System. She began volunteering with Playtime at Turning Point in March 2010, and joined the team at DASH when Playtime started there.
What made you start volunteering with Playtime?
The work I do in my day job is about kids but not directly with kids and families, so I was looking for a hands-on volunteer opportunity with kids in my neighborhood. I was especially excited about Playtime’s work because I had read a fair amount about the lifelong consequences of traumatic stress on the physical and mental health of kids, so I was eager to help create playrooms that were safe and joyful as an antidote to the stress of homelessness.
What’s your most memorable or meaningful story from Playtime?
I have two. Probably the most meaningful was when Lana emailed Turning Point volunteers on a Friday about a TP family that had been evicted and needed a safe place to stay for the weekend. Within only five hours, a small group of volunteers had pledged over $1,600, which was enough for them to stay in a hotel until they could move into their new transitional housing program. I was grateful to be a part of such a caring and generous group of people and happy we were able to help a family in a tangible way. I still have the thank you note from the family hanging on my refrigerator!
My second story is much lighter but always makes me smile. I got onto a bus in Columbia Heights where a three-year-old I knew from Playtime and his mom were sitting near the door. When I sat down a few seats away, Lamar looked at me skeptically, and said “Heeeyyyy… don’t you live in the playroom?” I answered that I don’t actually live there but that is where he knew me from. There was a long pause then he finally responded with, “You need to stay in the playroom, okay?”