Become a Playspace Activity Leader

Contact Name:
Lynne Gaines
Filed in:
Things to do near Boston, MA » Activities » Indoor-Activities


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
  • Attend the 1 1/2 hour PAL orientation )
  • Complete and submit a notarized CORI criminal background check
  • Provide information for 2 references

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