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 Bob Choo, our March 2020 Turning Point Volunteer of the Month!
Bob Choo started out as a Playtime donor, making monthly contributions starting in 2018. But in 2019, he decided it was time to take his support to the next level, and committed to becoming a weekly Play Ranger. Since then, he has been an incredible presence in the playroom; when she nominated him, Site Manager Sarah Fraser highlighted Bob's skill in facilitating activities with children, and how much she appreciates his feedback.
"Bob is awesome, works really well with kids, and is always facilitating games and aiding cooperative play," Sarah said. "He's also really vocal and attentive during debrief conversations, which is a really important time for our volunteers to share their observations, concerns, and celebrations of the children in our program."
Keep reading below for a Q&A with Bob.
Even if I may be feeling down or otherwise having a bad day, I look forward to getting to Turning Point on the nights I'm volunteering.
-Playtime Project Volunteer of the Month Bob Choo
When and why did you start volunteering with Playtime?
I had been supporting Playtime with monthly donations since 2018, and I began volunteering in September 2019. It's been something that I've wanted to do for a while, but hesitated to make the time commitment. Playing with kids in a well-run program that benefits a larger purpose is really a win-win on so many levels for me. First of all, it's a ton of fun, and there's something about the age group we work with at Turning Point that really brings out the kid in me. And in addition to the glaring socioeconomic inequities that the families at Turning Point are confronting, there's so much research now on how trauma and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can impact children in a lasting way, so working with a group like Playtime is very gratifying, even to feel that in some small way I'm helping to address the problem.
How has volunteering with Playtime affected you?
Like most adults, I find that hearing a child laugh or putting a smile on a kid's face is very rewarding, and even if on some nights the "controlled chaos" can seem more challenging than others, I can honestly say that volunteering with Playtime is a reliable source of joy for me. Even if I may be feeling run down or otherwise having a bad day, I look forward to getting to Turning Point on the nights I'm volunteering.
Can you share a memorable moment you've had as a Play Ranger?
Even in the short time I've been volunteering, I've had a number of moments that stand out. As the kids get to know and trust you, they can really look forward to seeing you. One time a six year-old boy who hadn't been able to come for several weeks ran up to me and told me he missed me and gave me a big hug. And seeing a two year-old who may have some developmental challenges start to laugh, speak a few words, and engage in play with volunteers is really, really satisfying.
What else do you want people to know about your work with Playtime?
I've been impressed with how well the program is run, from the dedication of the staff to the other volunteers I work with, and just how great the kids are at Turning Point - all of them.
If you could have any super power, what would it be?
Hah - you know, for most of my life I'd have immediately said it would be the power to be invisible. But as I've gotten older, I'd have to say my favorite superpower now would be the ability to turn back time.