These are the parents behind the Playseum! Be sure and say "hello" if you see them! Once just a simple business idea scribbled onto a napkin, has changed the lives of Jason, Gina, and their four children. The Playseum has brought so much love, joy and happiness to their family and so many others around the world.
When the Playseum opened in 2009, I was 13 years old. I can say that the Playseum has changed and grown a lot over the years. As kids, my mom taught us that the world was much bigger than myself, and that no one is too young to make a difference. When I was nine, my sisters and I began selling cookies and photography to help rescue children in India, the country where my father’s ancestors are from. I have since visited the organization and kids we support in India twice, with a third trip anticipated soon. I worked very hard over the last five years to learn both Spanish and Chinese. Currently, I have my Bachelors in both Public Relations & Chinese.
Despite having just turned 10 years old when the Playseum opened, I was already fully invested in making it a success. I loved making things for a greater good! Baking, decorating, and crafting- I enjoyed being creative in a hands-on way, often times to sell or give away to help those in need. My heart is for the children and families we help around the world as well as in our own community. I do that by being my mom’s right-hand woman with the aim of expansion. To me, growth of the Playseum, means the ability to rescue more children, build more wells, and provide a place for good memories to be created between children and parents. What more in life could you ask for?
When the Playseum opened, not so long ago, I was seven years old. At that time my passion was pets! Although I still love animals- and adore my two cats at home - I am also drawn to reading and art. Since inspired to read by my mother and sister, I can’t stop. Books make way for the imagination and teach big lessons in ways children can understand. I have even written and illustrated a few children’s books of my own, currently awaiting publishing. I am happy to say we sell many adorable, heartfelt, silly, and creative books at the Playseum, most with stuffed animal companions and approved by me!
For me the Playseum opened a lifetime ago when I was only four. As the only son, I have helped my mom understand that boys need their place too! I love to play basketball, my saxophone, and board games with my sisters. I have learned through my mom that customer service is the most important thing when running a business, and in order for the community to endorse you, you must always be honest, respectful, and kind. There is not a day that my mom does not come home without a story about how she enjoyed serving her customers, and I’m happy to be a part of what my family does.
It was in 2007 after my fourth child had just turned nine months old when I came to the decision to stop working and be home full time. This was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I can’t say it has been easy though. Without family nearby to help us mixed with the crazy fast paced DC life; my husband and I knew that we needed to stop and reevaluate our lives before we dangerously crashed. We dropped much from our schedules and said “no” to things that we had commonly said “yes” to without thought. We needed a change as a family. We came to the conclusion and agreement together that we had been given but a few years to raise-up, train, discipline and educate our children.
Even within those years we would have only a few precious quality God given moments to instill the heart of God and the joys of life into our children.Time goes fast. As parents we know this! By tomorrow all those things we run after today will be gone. We all want the best for our children, so they can experience the most, thrive in the world and take hold of all that the world has to offer.
Once I became a full time stay-at-home mom I realized there were few places where I, as a mom, could go in the DC area with my child and leave feeling good about my parenting. The other alternative was to sign them up for endless classes without me. As I began to journal my thoughts one day I found myself saying “Mom, all I ever wanted from you was for you just to “be with me” when I was young.
Two weeks after my mom passed away I sat on the couch, unable to sleep, with a pen a paper in hand sensing something new was about to be born. My pen was moving slower than my mind as I tried to keep up with my thoughts drawing sketches, taking notes and ultimately laying out plans for a place where children and parents can just BE themselves.
I began to dream of a warm welcoming place where parents, nannies, and children could come, create and relate with one another and experience the love that family, play, and books offer. I envisioned a place that had no gimmicks, nor exclusive, demanding, memberships, a place that was cheap enough that those who have more than two children could easily afford. This place would not only come along side and support families here but by doing so we would send finances far away to pull orphan children off the streets and help find them families of their own – Come in and play and help a child far away.
This dream began on a piece of paper. Each day it continued to grow on countless napkins as my kids and I would sit around in Starbucks, McDonalds, and Panera and dream together. Their input and drawings of what they envisioned, along with multiple trips to Children’s Museums up and down the East Coast, prayer, and a lot of patience helped birth a new kind of place for children and parents alike. Together as a family we present to you the Be with Me Playseum - Where kids create and parents relate.
As a mother of four, having worked out of the home, in the home, and at times stayed at home- I can relate. I have been working directly with children and art since 1998 by directing summer camps, after-school care, community events, childcare programs for churches, and kid-centered global outreaches.
In 2009, the dream became a reality. The Be with Me Playseum was birthed! No one in the 70’s would have ever predicted that more children would be visiting Psychologists than their grandparents, or that the divorce rate would raise so drastically, or that the most recommended need of today’s child is “unstructured playtime with parents”.
From one loving parent to another, I invite you to come to the Playseum and enjoy spending time with your child as they create, play, and read, taking every opportunity to engage them and build lasting memories together.
Ms. Gina's Values...
LIFE- We believe all children are gifts from God. Every life, big or small, is of great worth and therefore every child and parent is valuable to us.
FAMILY- Family is the most vital part of our community. We treasure the opportunity to offer people a place to create family moments and memories. Family is the desired way in which God allows us to first experience love, so we endeavor to promote family values and family time for all.
GOD- God is the giver of life and we hope to honor Him in all our affairs. He is the source and inspiration for the Playseum's creativity and passion.