NPR logo Homeless Kids At Play In Washington, D.C.

Homeless Kids At Play In Washington, D.C.

A volunteer reads a book with a visitor at The Homeless Children's Playtime Project. Courtesy of The Homeless Children's Playtime Project hide caption

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Courtesy of The Homeless Children's Playtime Project

A volunteer reads a book with a visitor at The Homeless Children's Playtime Project.

Courtesy of The Homeless Children's Playtime Project

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Two evenings a week, single dad David Barnes drops his young daughters Kayla and Alexis off for a while at The Homeless Children's Playtime Project in Washington, D.C. There they can frolic with other homeless children, ages 1 to 11, from the nearby D.C. General shelter. Thanks to the project's volunteers.

On a recent night, Nikki Zumbrun, 22, and Cecilia Volterra, 23, are reading with a couple of the 40-or-so kids. Shade Mallory, 27, likes to hang with the older girls. "We practice dance moves," she says.

Outside, the unemployed Barnes sits alone — smoking a cigarette, soaking in the quiet.

Homeless children have the opportunity to play with volunteers. Courtesy of The Homeless Children's Playtime Project hide caption

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Courtesy of The Homeless Children's Playtime Project

Homeless children have the opportunity to play with volunteers.

Courtesy of The Homeless Children's Playtime Project