KidsPlay would not be where it is without our volunteers, so it’s time to shine a light on those that give us an hour or two out of their busy schedules.
Our first Volunteer Spotlight features Humphry Rolleston. Humphry can be found reading books to children in the Literacy Tree House for our weekly “Tales with Humphry” program. Born and raised in London, he moved to the United States in 1987. From there, he moved with his wife to Litchfield at the end of 2014 after retiring, having spent many years in the corporate world working for companies such as McKinsey & Co. and The Economist.
Tell me how you first got involved with KidsPlay.
I had been to a fundraiser for KidsPlay where I met Ken Merz and Eileen Marriott. Shortly after, I had lunch with them and my wife, Paula, where I learned more about KidsPlay and thought this would be a cool thing to get involved with. I suggested that if they needed anyone to come in to read to kids, I would love to do it because I used to read to my own son when he was very young and always enjoyed it. I always loved reading, so I put the two together for a natural fit. Eileen eventually introduced me to Patty Cassella at another fundraiser and “Tales with Humphry” started from there. I’m absolutely loving it!
What was your first impression of KidsPlay?
I thought it was fantastic, really imaginative, and I loved some of the activities the kids could do. I liked how there are various “stations” where kids can go from one activity to the next, and I loved the Literacy Tree. I loved it all! I’m very excited about the expansion and the potential possibilities of what else can be created here for kids.
What do you wish other people knew about KidsPlay?
I think anyone who has small children from 2-10 should bring their kids here because it’s just fantastic. There is so much they can do. There is a lot of education activities and programs they can get involved with. KidsPlay is a safe and clean environment, it’s very well managed, and the kids can have a great time. If you have a young child and you want them to experience an amazing and imaginative place, come here. It’s also a great place for birthday parties. They really know what they’re doing and do a great job at facilitating birthday parties. Whether it’s for a special event, or it’s for a rainy day, or it’s for a cold day in the winter or hot day in the summer, bring your kids here. They have a variety of activities going on every day. There’s always something going on that they can get involved with.
How do you feel after you leave KidsPlay?
I feel energized and glad I’ve volunteered my time. I’ve hoped I made a difference to even one child that they are even more encouraged to read or they want to encourage their parents to read to them.
What was your favorite book as a child?
I loved all the Beatrix Potter Books, such as Peter Rabbit, but I also liked Thomas the Tank Engine. He was British – Reverend Awdry. I went to school with his kids. I also loved The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher and The Tale of Jemima Puddle Duck.
What hobbies do you have?
The arts are very important to my wife and me, so we love going to the movies, theatre, and the opera. We also love to go to museums, antique shows, and art galleries. I love to hang out with friends and cook. While I may not enjoy exercising, I do enjoy swimming.
Do you have any final thoughts about KidsPlay?
If you’re a parent, grandparent, or older sibling and you want to have a really fun afternoon with a small child, bring them here. You won’t be disappointed.