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Who We Are

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. No. We are not a shelter. We partner with shelters across the city to provide programming for the children living in each site. If you are in need of shelter, contact the Virginia Williams Family Resource Center, 920-A Rhode Island Avenue NE, at (202) 526-0017.

  2. Our play programs are only for the children living in each partner shelter site where we provide programming. Playtime is not open to the public. If you are a shelter resident in a partner site, come speak to our Site Manager about enrollment.

  3. Only those over the age of 18 are eligible to volunteer with Playtime’s evening programs that serve youth directly.

    Teenagers age 13-18 who can organize a group of 5-10 youth volunteers with at least one adult chaperone can participate in our Adopt-a-Playroom project, which does not involve working directly with children. Visit the group volunteer page for more information.

    We encourage those under 18 to coordinate a donation drive within their community to help fulfill our current needs. Visit the donate goods page for more information.

  4. No. Because we have limited space in our playrooms and try to maintain a 3:1 kid-to-volunteer ratio, we can’t allow parent volunteers to bring their own little ones. Playtime children require your full attention. However, visit our group volunteer page often to see the latest ways to get your family involved.

    Donation drives are another terrific way to get your children involved in our work. Check out our list of goods we need and encourage your children to plan their own donation drive. Our Homelessness Fact Sheet for Children will help them understand family homelessness.

  5. We will provide a small snack, training materials, and pens. Please bring a government-issued photo ID for sign-in and a drink and extra snack if you think you’ll be hungry.

  6. What is the background check requirement? What if I already have another background check from my job?

    All weekly Play Ranger volunteers are required to clear an FBI fingerprint and Children and Family Services Agency (CFSA) background check, as well as provide proof of no criminal record from the Metropolitan Police Department. You will receive more information about background checks, including suggested locations to get your checks completed, at the Volunteer Info Session. To help us keep administrative costs low, we ask volunteers to cover the background check costs, which total $32 ($20 fingerprints, $5 notary seal for CFSA check, $7 cash for MPD clearance). If you are experiencing financial hardship, please talk to our staff — we may be able to cover the cost for you.

  7. At this time, we don’t offer any weekend opportunities working directly with children because our play programs occur on weekday evenings. However, our Adopt-a-Playroom program always needs small group volunteers on weekends.

  8. Yes. If you can’t make a long-term, weekly commitment, join or organize a volunteer group to adopt a playroom or host a birthday or holiday party. Or, consider coordinating a donation drive.

    If you have something special to offer the children and families we serve — such as monthly on-site yoga, dance lessons, or music therapy — let’s talk! Previous visitors include puppeteers, firefighters, dental professionals, step dance instructors, and an astronaut! Share your interest and availability with us here.

  9. No. Playtime only provides diapers and Pull-Ups to families who live at the partner shelter sites that we work with and who are currently enrolled in our programs. We partner with the Greater D.C. Diaper Bank, however, Pull-Ups and wet wipes are always welcomed donation items.

Please contact Nicolien Buholzer, Volunteer Program Manager, at volunteer@playtimeproject.org with any questions about becoming a volunteer with our program.

Here’s information about our volunteer site locations.

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