Ventura Family Witnessed History and Helped Homeless Children in Washington, DC

Ventura, California (February 3, 2009): Ventura volunteers Mark, Angela, Kai and Makani Kirwin of Kirwin International Relief Foundation (KIRF) headed to Washington, DC on January 16 to provide assistance for homeless children to heed President-Elect Obama’s request for Americans to do a community service project to honor the spirit of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. He called it a National Day of Service. While in DC they also attended the inauguration.

On the Saturday before the Inauguration, the Kirwins met up with volunteers at the local Target and Best Buy to purchase wish list items for the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project. The HCPP is a non-profit that serves homeless children at several Washington, DC transitional living shelters. The Kirwins’ two children helped the volunteers choose the best toys and art supplies—stuff that they know kids like. Carpooling with the volunteers, they delivered about six shopping carts of needed educational toys, art supplies and furnishings to a local shelter later that day. The Kirwins and their children returned to the shelter on Wednesday and helped build some play structures and played with the kids. Ironically, the shelter’s Playtime was closed on the National Day of Service for the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

“Their lives are hard and several of them have suffered a lot. But it was so gratifying to see them excited about their new toys and have fun in a loving and safe environment,“ Angela Kirwin said. “Every kid needs to feel special sometimes.”

The Homeless Children’s Playtime Project ( non-profit serves children in local emergency and transitional homeless shelters by giving them a safe and enriching place to play in the evenings. “This is the one place they can go be with their peers and get a lot of love and attention,” Nicole French, a Site Coordinator at the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project, said. “Now with KIRF’s help we’re able to make the space more hospitable and kid-friendly during Playtime,” Ms. French said.

The wish list items were purchased with funds donated by KIRF’s generous supporters. Angela and Mark pay for their airfare and hotel expenses out of their personal funds.

KIRF is a tax-exempt public charity 501(c)(3) organization as a member of the International Humanities Center ( Donations are tax deductible to the full extent permissible by law. Our Tax Identification Number is 33-0767921.

For more information please go to the KIRF web site: