Employee Spotlight-Horizons For Homeless Children
Life at Horizons

Employee Spotlight

Employee Spotlight-Horizons For Homeless Children

Steve Croke

Northeast Playspace Program Director

January 2011

Describe your role at Horizons & day in the life in your role.
My workday varies quite a bit. We are always working to recruit and retain great volunteers, our PALs (Playspace Activity Leader), which means putting together outreach events, training and screening new PALs, and presenting workshops. Building and maintaining relationships is very important, too, so I meet with shelter staff, PALs, and other folks in the community. We maintain the Playspaces and make sure they are up to our design standards, which is a lot more involved than it sounds because people love to change things around in the Playspace! Challenges inevitably come up and we have to work with the PALs and shelter staff to remedy those.

What do you like most about your job?
In addition to caring about the type of work we do, what I like most about my job is the people I work with. My colleagues are very passionate, hardworking, dedicated, and collaborative – just great people. And while I work closely with the Playspace team, this also goes for the other departments as well.

What’s a goal you hope to accomplish or have accomplished while at Horizons?
We are in the midst of putting together videos for our “PAL Academy” online training. This is something that we’ve talked about for a while and it’s finally taking shape. We’ve received a lot of support from our CEO and the marketing department to make it happen.

What is something you’ve learned at Horizons that has affected you the most?
There are a lot of very caring and passionate people out there who want to help others. Unfortunately, the already-staggering number of homeless families keeps increasing, so the need for these caring and passionate people increases as well.

Favorite/most powerful Horizons moment?
I had a meeting one night with a shelter liaison. While we were in her office, a father came in for something. When the liaison introduced me as being from Horizons and with the PALs, a huge smile spread across the father’s face and he came right over to me and gave me a really firm handshake. He told me that his daughter had a few issues and ever since she started going to the Playspace and having the PALs work with her, she was doing a million times better. The PALs were the best thing in the world! He thanked me a few times before leaving. This is just one of the many stories I’ve heard about our PALs and the Playspace Program making a huge difference in a child’s life. On the flip side, I’ve had a lot of volunteers tell me how much their lives have been affected for the better since they started volunteering!

Why do you think people should support Horizons?
We have a great organization, from the board of directors, to every person in every department. With the Playspace Program in particular, I’ve seen how giving children the opportunity to play can change their lives.

What are some reasons PALs volunteer in your region?
Most of the PALs in the Northeast Region tell us they volunteer as a way to give back to the community and to make a difference.

What’s your favorite childhood memory?
I’m the youngest of nine children, and my siblings are a lot older than me. When I was growing up, most of them lived in other states or were away at college, so I didn’t see them a lot. But they always came home for the holidays so that was my favorite time of year – it was a madhouse but having everyone together was the best!

What was your favorite learning activity growing up?
I loved Lincoln Logs and playing sports outside.


Horizons for Homeless Children’s passionate employees embody the Horizons’ mission every day in a vast array of ways. The Horizons’ staff is uniquely specialized in several areas to serve to the needs of young homeless children and their families. To join our team, check out our career opportunities!

Published on November 21, 2016