Horizons for Homeless Children: Playspace Program - NECN

Horizons for Homeless Children: Playspace Program

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Horizons: Playspace Program

    One mission of the Massachusetts non-profit, which offers early childhood education and support services to homeless families, is to give children opportunities to play. (Published Friday, March 13, 2015)

    It's playtime at a shelter in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood - a chance for kids to read, do puzzles and try some arts and crafts.

    Horizons for Homeless Children provides Playspaces in 133 shelters across Massachusetts.

    Thousands of kids look forward to spending time there three nights a week.

    "They're really excited when they know Playspace is coming," said Donna Cameron Jones, a residential senior support staff member. "And we have one little girl who comes in every day, 'Miss Donna, Miss Donna, Playspace today?'"

    And it wouldn't be possible without 1,400 volunteers called "PALs" - Playspace activity leaders - like Margo Feeney, who's been coming once a week. for the past year.

    "It's still very rewarding," she said. "The kids remember me. I get to play as well, so that's an added bonus."

    The Playspace program has been around for 25 years. It was founded on the belief that play is essential for child development, and the hours away aren't just for kids.

    "It gives the parents time to do chores for two hours, catch up on schoolwork," said Jones.

    And PALs enjoy the time, too.

    "DJ, when he came, he wasn't even walking. And now he's speaking, which is amazing," said Feeney.

    The program is helping children thrive in an environment that just lets them be kids.

    You can help a homeless child get school ready. Donate now at horizonschildren.org.

    For up-to-the-minute news and weather, be sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook. Sign up for our new breaking news email alerts by clicking here and download our free apps here.