Meet Kathleen Fawcett from Washington, DC
"I want to help kids living in homeless shelters to get a vacation from homelessness." That’s what student and law clerk, Kathleen Fawcett, wrote when she requested $10,000 to provide Washington, DC’s homeless children with some fun adventures away from their surroundings. Kathleen is a volunteer with The Homeless Children's Playtime Project (HCPP), which provides weekly playtime and field trips for five homeless shelters in the Washington area including DC General, an abandoned hospital that now houses up to 200 families.
Kathleen will provide tickets and meal vouchers for their summer teen field trip to Six Flags as well as a cooking class for teens at DC General. She will also stock their new playroom with toys and games, shelving, computers, stereo, tables, chairs, reading nooks, etc. Her gifts will benefit up to 100 homeless children and their families.
Originally from Hagerstown, Maryland, Kathleen volunteered with HCPP in 2008 after a shooting in her neighborhood inspired her to get involved. Despite her busy schedule, Kathleen often organizes special events like holiday parties and field trips. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children need play time to develop their cognitive skills, as well as their physical, and emotional wellbeing. Recreation is severely restricted in the shelter environment and children are routinely denied necessities like soap, toys, books and a space to call their own.
Kathleen recently graduated Magna Cum Laude from Catholic University Columbia School of Law in Washington, DC, and is currently enrolled in class for bar preparation while working as a law clerk in Rockville, Maryland.
Diary Starts Here
October 12, 2011
We recently received the Playtime Project's very first Annual Report which highlights their successes in serving more than 700 children and their families in 2010. Below are a few scans of the report...
May 23, 2011
Here's an update from Kathleen...
Hi, I just wanted to touch base with you and let you know how many great things have happened this year! Be sure to check out the article in my school's magazine, featuring me and you!!! (see image below). Our organization is growing, through great programs like yours. We've had a fantastic year, with thriving programs at our five shelters, and a new teen program launching this summer. We've had great field trips, and memories to last a lifetime. I just wanted to thank you again for all that you do and help you to know how many lives are touched because of you. With love and gratitude, Kathleen
December 17, 2010
Kathleen sent us some updates...
I am officially a Lawyer now, you can add the Esquire to my name :). I was sworn in to the state bar of Maryand on Tuesday and I have a full time job at the Law Offices of McCarthy WIlson, where they allow me to continue my volunteer work with the Homeless Children's Playtime Project. As a first year associate, it's getting harder to manage my time, so I appreciate the extra time getting my last wishes in order! You two have done such great work this year and I hope you take a minute to think about all the lives that you have changed for an eternity just this year alone. You two are remarkable and I am eternally grateful for having been honored and recognized by Jenny's Heroes and I have seen over 200 kids walk in and out of the playrooms that you were an essential part in forming. With freshly painted walls, a beautiful library and amazing toys, dress up clothes, games, and much more, we could not be more grateful. Enjoy your holidays while we get covered in snow here on the East Coast :) All the best, Kathleen
July 19, 2010
Kathleen sent us the details about their trip to Six Flags...
On August 14th, a fabulous Saturday afternoon, right before a day full of showers and right after a day full of 100 degree heat we took a group of 30 kids ages 8-18 to Six Flags for the day. We had a fantastic group of 14 volunteers that travelled with us for the day. We met the bus at our first site and travelled across the city to get the rest of the kids from the other site. We filled up a full bus with kids, volunteers, and snacks for the trip! It was such a quick trip to Six Flags, we were there before we knew it (What a blessing not to be trekking for an hour and a half on public transportation)! When we arrived, another volunteer Katie and I headed to guest relations to pick up our tickets and meal tickets. We then broke up into smaller groups for the day!
The older girls hung around the water park for the day, riding on inner tubes around the exciting and scary slides and lounging in the "lazy river." Another group headed over for some water rides and had a blast getting soaked in the log flume and floating around in giant floating inner tubes! The lines to the rides were not as long as we expected--especially since it was a very comfortable 80 degrees outside! One group got on TEN roller coasters! The favorite rides of the day were the Superman and the Batman--two exceedingly scary and awesome roller coasters in "Gotham City." We enjoyed the fast rides and the relaxing water--lots of kids had a great time cooling off in the wave pool--especially our volunteers who were exhausted after chasing around our eager kids all day long!
We got to take a lunch break with our meal tickets, which allowed us to get a full meal at various food stands around the park. I have never seen food fill up our hungry teens before! I could not believe that I was seeing kids unable to finish their meals--what a great deal! It was fantastic to give them a break to relax and eat at the tables by the food stands, and then to head off back to the fun! Our responsible kids gave themselves self-imposed time limits of half an hour before they would get back in the water! It was so relaxing for the volunteers--we didn't have to discipline anyone all day long!
As we headed out of the park for the day, we stopped for a group photo (that I've attached here)! Everyone was SO happy that we had such a great day and the volunteers were so impressed at the fantastic behavior that we saw all day. The kids were leading us around--helping us to enjoy the day, and even being our tour guides with maps! We got to relax on the bus with our fantastic bus driver Mr. Jim and we passed out snacks of trail mix, grapes, granola bars, and chocolate bars! We left the park and headed home after a full day of rides, relaxing and fun. This surely was a trip for the memory book--beautiful weather, great friends, lots of fun and an all around fantastic experience. It was a chance to have a vacation from homelessness--and a chance to treat our volunteers to a fantastic day doing what we all love best--making our kids smile. Thank you so much for this experience and I hope you can feel the joy that we had on that day.
With much gratitude,
July 19, 2010
Kathleen sent us an update...
Hi Jenny! We placed our first order for the DC General playroom today! We have not told the kids about six flags yet, we are currently making changes to our guest list. We plan on telling them next week! I'll be sure to let you know when we do. We have a clean-up day planned for July 31st with 20 people already committed to organizing our new toys and supplies and getting the playroom up to gear! I will be forwarding before and after pictures to you shortly after that. I take the bar in 7 days, so I'll be out of touch for a week :) I'm so excited to have August to look forward to making my dream come true thanks to you :)
July 9, 2010
Here's an email from Kathleen...
Thank you SO much for this wonderful honor and gift to an organization that I've definitely put my blood, sweat and tears in to. I've always given my time because I've never been able to give money--now, thanks to you, I'm able to contribute that as well. It's absolutely mind-blowing and I'm sorry I was at a loss for words when we were on the phone yesterday!
I told Damon a little bit about the experience--I was completely shocked! I was expecting to hear from Jamila that we could not afford the Six Flags trip in the budget--which would have broken my heart. It's been all the kids have been talking about and asking for and to be unable to give that to them is a horrible feeling. Now it's possible! It's hard to take in!
Instead, I got to talk to you, was presented with signs and flowers and a huge round of applause. Jamila sent e-mails out to our site coordinators and my group of volunteers, and I began receiving phone calls and texts from my friends, volunteers, and family members---quite a nice turn of events for an ordinary Thursday. We then went to lunch and began planning how to spend the grant money.
I'm actually taking the MD bar exam in a little over two weeks, so this is an exciting time. It's nice to be able to take a day for myself to relax and appreciate all the other things going on in the world outside of the crunch before the bar exam.
I have taken a look at the page and it seems like everything is good to go! We're so impressed with the research that you've done and excited you've included our slogan -- a vacation from homelessness, something that has become exceedingly important to me.
I'll send you some pictures soon--I've already asked my two sisters (and best friends!) to approve some to go up! As they're both in their early twenties--it may take some time to get the double approval ;). I'm also hoping to get some "before pictures" of our space at DC General to send along to you. I'm excited to have something to look forward to working on after the bar, so hopefully I can get you everything for the finalized shopping list in early August (the bar is the 27th and 28th of July!) We also hope to get some amazing after shots with the kids who inspire us, and other volunteers, like me, who make the organization run.
Again, I cannot thank you enough for your generosity. It sends such a great message to all those people that are working hard giving their time and energy to organizations that they love. If you're ever on the east coast, we'd love for you to come by a playtime and see what joy is in the air. It's an amazing feeling that I can't get enough of--being there twice a week is a highlight of my days. If there's anything that you need from me, please let me know. Thank you for bringing these possibilities to our organization and the children that we serve. With your help, we can give these kids in our nation's capital a true vacation from homelessness.
With much gratitude,
July 8, 2010
My surprise phone call to Kathleen today was really fun! Jamila Larson, the Project's Executive Director, set up a meeting for my phone call and as soon as Kathleen walked in, Jamila sent me a quick email and I called right away. I knew there would be a few other volunteers there but I heard what sounded like a huge crowd of people cheering and applauding. "I'm trying not to burst into tears," said Kathleen who was totally surprised by the news.
Kathleen said they have a great group of teens living in the shelter and the volunteers took them to a baseball game. They loved the experience and asked if they could go to Six Flags. Kathleen said they could not come up with the funds for a trip like that, but now they can. I can imagine how exciting that trip will be for the kids.
Kathleen also talked about the brand new playroom space that's pretty bare right now - but not for long. She is putting together her shopping list and it will soon be filled with fun things to do.
07/08/10: Jenny wrote... "Kathleen, your gifts will make a huge difference for so many children. You’ll be a great asset to the legal community."
07/08/10: Damon wrote... "Keep up the great work, Kathleen. Thanks for everything you do on behalf of the homeless."
07/08/10: Shari Boscolo wrote... "Nice job!"
07/08/10: Amy Leone wrote... "Wow Kathleen, great job - the kids are going to have a great time; keep up the good work!"
07/08/10: Patricia Fawcett wrote... "We are so unbelievably proud of you! Love, Mom and Dad"
07/08/10: Ashley Carter wrote... "Kathleen does so much for our organization—way to go K!"
07/08/10: Marie Heck wrote... "Kathleen- I so admire you, you are special beyond words and we are so proud of you. You are the most giving person. Love, Cousin Marie (Sis) and Aunt Maureen"
07/09/10: Michele Buzard wrote... "Kathleen, WOW! Your mom sent this to several of us on campus. You are truly an inspiration to young people, especially these teens you are helping. Keep up the great work. It is nice that people like you are in this world. Thank you!"
07/09/10: Haley Adams wrote... "Kathleen, I’m so happy to have you as a friend and as a co-volunteer! HCPP wouldn’t be the same without you!"
07/20/10: Prof. Winston, Columbus School of Law wrote... "Congratulations! What a well-deserved honor for a terrific, dedicated and hard-working graduate! The legal field is enriched by lawyers like you."
07/20/10: Dean Veryl Miles, Columbus School of Law wrote... "Kathleen, your gift for giving so much of your time and energy to others is the best example of servant leadership for us all. On behalf of the CUA law school community, congratulations and thank you."
07/22/10: Nirmal Gomes wrote... "I just visited the Law School web site and read that you have been doing such a wonderful work for the homeless kids. It's very need and inspiring activities. I think you are doing what we all suppose to do for the most needy children who are also part of the world that we all live in. I wish if I could join you in any future program. I appreciate your volunteer work and hope you will continue this."
09/01/10: Aileen Collins wrote... "Kathleen, you are such an integral part of the HCPP family. Thank you so much for all that you do for the kids, for the organization, and as a friend!"