he mission of the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project is to cultivate resilience in children experiencing family homelessness by providing and expanding access to transformative play experiences
We do this by:
- Creating ongoing play opportunities that nurture healthy child development
- Challenging systemic injustice by advocating for policies and practices that reduce the risk of chronic homelessness
- Connecting families with critical support services and supplies in the community to meet their concrete needs
e partner with transitional housing and emergency shelters across the city, where we create safe and fun play spaces in the shelters where the children live. More than 120 weekly volunteers dedicate their time, serving as playmates and mentors to children from 6 months to 12 years old.
Play is an integral part of normal childhood development. From dress up to Legos to board games to kicking a ball outdoors, Play develops gross- and fine-motor skills, encourages problem solving, stimulates creativity, and enhances social-emotional learning.
We call it play with a purpose. Our play activities are designed to build resilience and self-esteem, to strengthen development milestones, and to reduce the effects of trauma.
With the support of donors and volunteers, Playtime gives children the chance to solve problems creatively, build self-confidence and resiliency, develop new friendships, and enjoy activities designed to support healthy child development.
Approximately 50% of families in the city’s mainstream homeless shelter system in Washington D.C. have experienced domestic violence. By age twelve, 83% of homeless children have been exposed to at least one serious violent event.