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2023 In Review: Looking Back to Inform the Future

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After 20 years of providing intentional, transformative play experiences to children experiencing housing insecurity and homelessness, Playtime Project has a lot to celebrate. In the face of many challenges over the past two decades, Playtime has overcome them, adapted, and thrived because we are driven by our mission. Playtime's growth in 2023 illustrates how our hard work over the years has, and continues to, produce positive results. 

The year 2023 was a time of exciting growth. Here are a few of the year’s highlights: 

  • We further defined the way we measure children’s improvement across key areas of growth. Between January and October 2023, more than half of all children in our programs showed growth in key areas like creative problem-solving (74%), the ability to persevere in the face of challenging tasks (58%), the ability to identify their own emotions (65%), exhibiting positive self-affirmation (64%), and the ability to play cooperatively with their peers (61%).

When told that her non-verbal child had improved his communication skills, one mother said, “That comes from Playtime. When he comes home from Playtime, he talks a lot more.” 

  • Through Parent Satisfaction Surveys, parents expressed that Playtime creates a safe, joyful space (over 90% of parents surveyed) where their kids get a chance to experience childhood, regardless of their living situation. Parents see Playtime as a program where their children can learn and practice socio-emotional skills crucial to healthy childhood development (93% of parents surveyed). One parent told us, “I love this atmosphere. It is a very friendly atmosphere and I love the positive vibes most of all." 
  • We expanded to 11 program sites compared to seven in 2022, growing our ability to meet families wherever they are in the District and Prince George’s County. Sites include three school-based sites, two domestic violence shelters, one community-based site, two homeless shelters, and three housing programs. 487 children were served last year. 
  • Children receive the greatest benefits of Playtime when they attend programs often. In 2023, more than 60% of children in our programs attended multiple times, increasing opportunities to build vital socio-emotional skills, relieve stress, and address trauma. 
  • Nearly 100 weekly volunteers provided over 2,600 hours of direct service to Playtime children and families. That amounts to a value of $83,000 worth of volunteer time.  
  • We also helped 9 Playtime families move into housing from shelters so they would not have to eat and sleep on the floor without furniture or household essentials. 

We are so appreciative of our Playtime community, without which this growth would not be possible. Thank you to our donors, volunteers, staff, board, program partners, and of course our children and families that made Playtime’s 20th anniversary year worth celebrating. We look forward to making even more of a difference for more children in the year ahead!

View Playtime Project's 2023 Annual Report here.