The 2018 hurricane season has been extraordinarily active in parts of the U.S., with Hurricane Florence currently impacting millions in the Carolinas. As this natural disaster unfolds, the staff here at VolunteerMatch is doing its part to ensure that, if you are in an affected community, you are prepared and safe. And if you are looking to help with disaster relief efforts, you know about the most effective ways to contribute.
The Horizons Initiative: Helping Hands for Homeless Children
The Horizons Initiative is an independent, nonprofit organization providing services for homeless children and their families in the Boston area. Founded in 1988 to respond to the growing needs of homeless children and their families, it is the only organization in Massachusetts working specifically to meet the needs of homeless children. The Horizons Initiative's Playspace Programs are founded upon the belief that play is a vital component of a child's development. Due to their families' instability and transition, children living in family shelters and domestic violence shelters may not have enough opportunities simply to play. Our Playspace Activity Leader volunteers provide the stimulating, safe playtime that is so necessary to every child's healthy emotional, physical, and cognitive development. Through our Playspace Programs, we install and maintain Playspaces in local family shelters, and stock them with age-appropriate toys and materials. Our Playspace Volunteer Network recruits, trains, and places volunteers in family shelters and in domestic violence shelters to facilitate activities with the children living there. To date, we have installed 25 Playspaces in area shelters, and we currently have nearly 600 active volunteers. In addition, the Horizons Initiative operates the Community Children's Centers, which provide full-time child care to more than 130 children from Boston family shelters, as well as offering support services for the families.