Rebecca Kellett’s dedication to the Teen Night program is unparalleled, said Michelai Lowe, Site Manager at D.C. General, in her nomination for Volunteer of the Month.
Michelai said: “Rebecca has probably missed three nights in the past five to six years! One of the proven methods to gain trust in Teen Night is to just show up. No matter what happens week to week, we all know Rebecca will always be there. I like to think of her as a silent site partner. Although she is not involved in the day-to-day management at the Playtime office, her wisdom is worth its weight in gold. She’s been an integral part of our Teen Night family and deserves to be recognized for her leadership.”
Why and when did you initially get involved in Playtime?
I started with Playtime as a social work intern in August 2013 and stayed as a volunteer once my internship was over. It was so clear to me early on that Teen Night was addressing a significant need for the teens in shelter, something I witnessed up close while serving as an intern.
How has volunteering with Playtime affected you?
I’ve been inspired by the teens’ resilience and their ability to cope with trauma and life’s challenges at such a young age. I learn something new every night I interact with the teens. Being a teenager is hard enough; I can’t imagine having to go through it while living in shelter. It is so important to me that we continue to work to provide a safe space for teens to be themselves and be together. They deserve a break from the shared room with parents and younger siblings. They also deserve friends who they can be themselves around and not have to hide their living situation from.
Share a memorable moment as a Playtime volunteer.
The most powerful moments are when we have the opportunity to see teens thrive after moving out of shelter. I’ve run into teens around the city or had some come back to program to say hi. It is always powerful to have them come back to tell us about the great things going on in their lives and show their gratitude for Teen Night.
What else do you want people to know about your work with Playtime?
I’ve volunteered for five years with Teen Night, and the reason I keep showing up is because the teens do. Even some who have moved out take the bus or ride their bike just so they can come to Teen Night. To me, that speaks to the power of the program and their need for that safe space.