Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Angel House Playspaces Get a Makeover

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Jun 02, 2016 @ 11:06 AM
AHouse_Playspace-1.jpgPlayspace Activities Leader (PAL) Liz McKee makes a paper airplane with one of the children at Angel House in the newly redesigned playspace room by Horizons for Homeless Children.

Opportunities for play are vital for the growth of any child. It may be even more important for children who have experienced significant trauma like those at HAC’s Angel House shelter.

Because of that, Horizons for Homeless Children, a nonprofit based out of Roxbury focused on improving the lives of young homeless children in Massachusetts, has made recreation a priority for those it serves through its Playspace Program.

In Southeastern Massachusetts, Horizons has helped fund and design playspaces for 29 shelters including Angel House. The HAC shelter has two indoor playspaces, one for babies and toddlers and the other for older children, the latter of which recently received a facelift courtesy of Horizons.

At the end of April, there was a ribbon cutting held to showcase the new space for older children. The space for younger ones also received new furniture and materials though the work was not as extensive. Twice a week, children are given the opportunity to explore these rooms and the toys and books found inside under the direction of Playspace Activity Leaders, or PALs.

Lin Rohr, facility director of Angel House, said these spaces serve as an invaluable resource for children at the shelter. “They usually have enough volunteers so if a child has the need for a one-on-one experience, they can get that, which is incredible,” she said.

Every five to 10 years, Horizons will fund a complete reinstall of the playspace which was done with the one for older children. “We are redoing them so they are up to current design standards,” said Meghan Schafer, the playspace program director for Horizons. At Angel House that meant changing the layout of the room, the colors on the wall and floor and adding new toys, books and furniture.

As her son played nearby, Victoria Chase, a mother staying at Angel House, said she was thankful for Horizon’s generosity. “I think the kids get a lot of use out of this and it’s a safe place for them to play,” she said. “And it’s great for people like Horizons to spend time with our kids.” 

Tags: Angel House, Horizons for Homeless Children, Lin Rohr, playspace, Angel House Playspace

A New Playspace for Cataumet, Thanks to Horizons

Posted by Julie Wake on Fri, Feb 14, 2014 @ 10:38 AM
Every four years, Horizons for Homeless Children “reinstalls” one of the children’s playspaces in the family shelters at Housing Assistance Corporation. So, this fall, Horizons staffers worked on the playspace at the Village at Cataumet, the family shelter in Cataumet.
cataumet playspace04 resized 600
The Horizons for Homeless Children playspace program was begun in 1990 and is based on the belief that play is essential for child development. The program ensures that each child living in a homeless shelter in Massachusetts has the opportunity for developmentally appropriate play.

The new play area was dedicated to the donors who made the reinstall possible. The plaque acknowledged donors Fotene and Tom Cote and their friend Suzy. All three donors, who are from the Boston area, attended the event at the Village of Cataumet.

As children ran into the play area to check out all the new toys and games, parents watched and smiled. Krista and Michael watched their son Matthew, 4, play while they held their son Noah, 1. Krista said Matthew particularly loves finger-painting.

Sandy Burke of Gray Gables in Bourne, a volunteer Playspace Activity Leader (PAL) , said, “I like seeing how the kids improve by getting some individual attention and some socialization skills.”  

Tags: HACbeat, housing assistance corporation, Village at Cataumet, Horizons for Homeless Children

HAC's Carriage House Opens New Play Space

Posted by Laura Reckford on Tue, Aug 13, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

Children at Carriage House enjoy the new place space.

Staff from the agency Horizons for the Homeless Children refurbished the play space at
Carriage House in June and a ribbon-cutting at the space on June 13 served as
an opportunity for the children and adults to get a first look at the new
space.

Carriage House Facility Director Anne Holmes saidof Horizons, “You guys are absolutely
amazing. The things you do. . . and you ask for nothing in return. You just
bless the kids.”

The new space is divided into five development areas: arts and crafts; a dramatic play area with puppets and a dollhouse for fine motor skills; an area with activities for gross motor skills; a gated infant area; and a literacy area. Six of the children staying at Carriage House attended the ribbon cutting and tried out the new play equipment and toys.

Horizons Playspace Programs Director Meghan Schafer  and Playspace Programs Manager Jessica Dalzell were both on hand for the ribbon-cutting.

Horizons is a private non-profit that was founded in 1988 and operates statewide with a main office in Roxbury. The mission of the agency is to improve the lives of young homeless children in Massachusetts and support early childhood education.

Ms. Schafer said, “Jess and I love what we do. The kids are our passion in life.” She added, “We love our volunteers.”

The playspace at Carriage House was a reinstall, because the group had worked on the same space in 2005. She said the re-install at Carriage House cost about $3,000 to $3,500, paid for through donations and from the agency’s budget.

About 65% of Horizons funding comes from donations and the rest through state and federal grants. The group has about 50 volunteers on the Cape who give about two hours per week for six month periods helping at shelters like Carriage House by playing with the children. There are trainings for volunteers twice a year, in April and October.

 On hand at the ribbon cutting are HAC Family Housing Services Compliance Manager Pat Caron.

On hand at the Carriage House ribbon-cutting are HAC Family Housing Services Compliance Manager Pat Caron and her son, Matt Caron, 13, HAC Project Prevention Director Delores
Barbati-Poore, Carriage House Facility Director Anne Holmes, Meghan Schafer and
Jessica Dalzell of Horrizons for Homeless Children and Carriage House Case
Manager Katie Geissler.

 

Tags: housing, Homeless, volunteers, Horizons for Homless Children, housing assistance corporation, Carriage House, Horizons for Homeless Children