Volunteer to Play with Homeless Children - Become a PAL with Horizons for Homeless Children

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ORGANIZATION: Horizons for Homeless Children

Horizons for Homeless Children

What is a Playspace?

Playspaces are child-friendly rooms that Horizons has installed in family homeless shelters across Massachusetts. Playspaces are designed to reflect the needs of children ages 0-6 experiencing trauma, creating a dedicated place for children to play and grow, and build connections with other caring adults who are committed to their success.

Playspaces are staffed by a dedicated volunteer corps of Playspace Activity Leaders (PALs) across the state of Massachusetts.

What is a Playspace Activity Leader (PAL)?

PALs are volunteers who staff Horizons’ Playspaces. And by staff, we mean play! PALs go to their assigned shelter for a 2 hour shift each week to play with the children living there. The majority of our shifts take place Monday through Thursday in the evenings, but some programs also have morning shifts. We do not have shifts on Fridays or weekends.

Who can be a PAL?

  • Anyone over 18 years old. Minors 16 and 17 years of age require parental supervision
  • Able to commit to a minimum 6 months of service, volunteering one Playspace shift a week.
  • Playspace shifts are available Monday-Thursday with the majority operating between 5-8pm; there is some daytime availability depending on the needs of the shelter.
  • Interested in working with children ages 0-6 and a sensitivity to those experiencing homelessness and trauma.

What does a PAL do?

  • Use a playful approach to enhance the social, physical, and emotional development of the children who visit our Playspaces
  • Foster healthy interactions and play with children, and promote the strengthening of self-confidence and positive self-esteem

How do I get started as a PAL?

For the safety of our children the following is required prior to starting as a PAL:

  • Complete this online application: https://horizonschildren.org/application/
  • Attend the 1 1/2 hour PAL orientation )
  • Complete and submit a notarized CORI criminal background check
  • Provide information for 2 references

1 Shift

  • 06:00 PM to 08:00 PM EST - Spots available: 5

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About Horizons for Homeless Children


1785 Columbus Avenue, Roxbury, MA 02119, US

Mission Statement

Horizons for Homeless Children is committed to improving the lives of young homeless children in Massachusetts and helping their families succeed by providing high-quality early education, opportunities for play, and comprehensive family support services. To support our mission, we also advocate on behalf of young children, train educators and human services providers, and provide research on the impact of early education on homeless children.


Horizons for Homeless Children is looking for caring, dependable individuals to interact and play with children living in homeless family shelters and domestic violence programs across the state.

Our Playspace Program is based on the belief that play is essential for child development. Our Playspace Program ensures that each child living in a homeless shelter in Massachusetts has the opportunity for developmentally appropriate play.

We build age-appropriate, child-friendly, educational Playspaces in shelters and stock them with books, developmental toys, and art supplies. Every Playspace includes: an infant area, a literacy area, an arts and crafts area, a manipulative area, and a dramatic play area.

Playspaces are staffed by trained volunteers, called Playspace Activity Leaders (PALs), who commit two hours weekly for at least six months. PALs enable parents to to participate in activities such as parenting groups, budgeting classes or job searches.

Interested in becoming a Playspace Activity Leader? Apply Today! https://horizonschildren.org/application/


Children & Youth
Homeless & Housing
Children & Youth, Community, Homeless & Housing


We'll work with your schedule.
This opportunity has 1 shift


Salem, MA 01970



  • Literacy / Reading
  • Youth Services
  • Child Care
  • Child Development
  • Relationship Building


  • People 55+


  • Background Check
  • Must be at least 16
  • Orientation or Training
  • 2 hours per week for 6 months

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