Playspace Program

Join a team of over 500 volunteers across Massachusetts empowering children through play and making a difference in the lives of children experiencing homelessness! 

The Playspace program gives volunteers the opportunity to give back to their community in a meaningful way that works with their schedule – just two hours, one evening a week makes a difference for a child living in shelter. Volunteers are supported by a dedicated team of staff committed to the success of the volunteers, the program, and the families we serve. 

Horizons has designed and installed child-centered rooms, called Playspaces, in shelters throughout Massachusetts with the intention of creating a safe and nurturing environment where children experiencing homelessness can do the things that all kids need…express themselves, build relationships with adults and other children, and have fun! 

Learn more about the program and see our upcoming trainings.

Interested in volunteering at a shelter near you?

“I have a friend who has been in and out of the shelter system with two children. I saw how debilitatingly hard it can be as a mom to live in a shelter and to experience homelessness. That inspired me to get involved and I am so glad I did. Horizons has enabled me to give back to families like my friend’s and that experience has been one of the best things in my life.”

What is a Playspace?

Playspaces are child-centered rooms that Horizons has installed in family homeless shelters across Massachusetts. These rooms are designed to create a dedicated place for children to learn, play, and thrive while building connections with caring adults. Horizons’ supports the needs of children living in shelter through play – a vital part of a child’s development. Our Playspace program is designed to build consistency in a time of uncertainty for kids living in shelter.  

What is a Playspace Activity Leader (PAL)?

PALs are part of Horizons’ dedicated group of volunteers. PALs are expected to encourage play, make connections and create positive experiences with the children in the program. PALs are assigned to a weekly two-hour shift at a shelter nearest them (or of greatest need if they are willing to travel a little further!) We ask that PALs commit to at least six months. Most shifts take place Monday through Thursday evenings, although limited morning and Friday shifts may be available in certain locations. Click here to apply. 

PAL Trainings

Ensuring new volunteers feel prepared and confident before heading to their first Playspace shift is important to us, so we require all volunteers to complete virtual training. You will enroll in an upcoming training as a part of the application. 

 Upcoming Volunteer Training Dates:  
Wednesday, September 13 at 6 p.m.
Wednesday, September 20 at 6 p.m.
Monday, October 2 at 6 p.m.
Tuesday, October 10 at 6 p.m.

Additional dates will be posted here as scheduled. 

Still have questions?

Visit our FAQ page or contact us! 

Playspace Program offices: 
1785 Columbus Avenue 
Roxbury, MA 02119 

T: 617.553.5488 
E:
boston@horizonschildren.org 

Current Playspace Locations