Every month here at Playtime, we spend some time chatting over the most incredible things our volunteers have done that month, the ways they've gone above and beyond the call of duty, and who truly epitomizes the term "hero of play." Then, we pick a Volunteer of the Month for each of our programs. So, without further ado, let us introduce our Turning Point Volunteer of the Month!
Meet Mitch Batchelder, our February 2020 Turning Point Volunteer of the Month!
Our Turning Point Volunteer of the Month for February is Mitch Batchelder, who's been a Play Ranger for nearly two years and continually brings a patient, compassionate spirit to our playroom.
"Mitch is one of our most consistent volunteers, and he really has a special knack for stepping up to help some of the children who need a little more focused support," Site Manager Sarah Fraser said when she nominated Mitch to be a volunteer of the month. "We're so lucky to have him as a volunteer!"
Keep reading below for a Q&A with Mitch.
It's a massive privilege to have the time and resources to volunteer with Playtime and get to spend time with some truly incredible children.
-Playtime Volunteer of the Month Mitch Batchelder
When and why did you start volunteering with Playtime?
I started volunteering with The Playtime Project in April of 2018. I was new to D.C. at the time and was looking for opportunities to get involved and appropriately serve a community that I was an outsider in. Additionally, I really enjoyed my past experiences working with children and wanted to continue that work. Playtime just seemed like a perfect fit when someone initially shared the opportunity with me.
How has volunteering with Playtime affected you?
My work with Playtime has reaffirmed my belief that a strong relationship between direct service and advocacy is necessary if you want to work towards building a more just society. While the work that we do as volunteers does not fundamentally change the system, it does provide access to a transformational resource that all children should have access to.
Can you share a memorable moment you've had as a Play Ranger?
I think that when new children or volunteers join Playtime, there can be a lengthy period of time in which people are getting comfortable in a new environment. It honestly just takes time for people to feel out the new space and build relationships. With that being said, it is always a powerful moment when a child who is genuinely upset looks to a specific volunteer for support. I believe that it shows a comfort level in that relationship that only comes when volunteers make a commitment to constantly show up and be present. It's those moments that really highlight some of the positive effects that these commitments can have.
Is there anything else you want people to know about your work with Playtime?
My work with Playtime has underscored to me the role of allyship and solidarity I most step into as a white male with a large degree of privilege and access to power. It's a massive privilege to have the time and resources to volunteer with Playtime and get to spend time with some truly incredible children. I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve and look forward to continuing my work with Playtime.