“We get so much more then we give. The smiles, high fives and hugs are a reward each and every week for just showing up, being present, and caring. These kids come from all sorts of situations and giving them a few hours of fun and safety is what it is all about!” – Deb O’Brien, PAL since 2010
About our PALs
Our Playspace Activity Leaders (PALs) are the heart of our Playspace Program. Our corps of 1,200 PALs staff our Playspaces across the state and bring joy to thousands of children. We currently offer 340 Playspace shifts a week—which is 680 hours of play each week for the children living in shelters. Playspace not only gives children time to play; it also gives their parents time to take classes, pursue permanent housing opportunities, or just enjoy a needed break.
Volunteering as a PAL is a wonderful way to make a difference in the lives of young children experiencing homelessness right here in local communities across Massachusetts. Hear firsthand what it’s like to volunteer in our Q&A with twenty-year PAL Mary Solomita.
For many of the young children who reside in shelter, their earliest and most formative years have been filled with instability and frequent transitions. It is important for our program to serve as a stabilizing and supportive force in their lives, so we require PALs to make a volunteer commitment of two-hours a week for a minimum of six months. PALs are assigned to a shelter with a consistent day and time each week for their Playspace shift. The majority of our shifts take place Monday through Thursday in the evenings from 5:00-8:00pm. A smaller number of programs also have morning or late afternoon shifts.
Once you’re trained as a PAL, Horizons provides trainings, workshops, and tips to working effectively in the Playspace. New this month in our PAL Academy series:
- Learn how to respond when babies start to cry
- Brush up on movement activities to get some of that energy out!
Still not sure if you’d like to join one of the largest corps of volunteers in the state? Read some of our frequently asked questions! If you have specific questions about how your availability matches with our current needs, please reach out to your local regional office.