What helps youth experiencing homelessness heal and thrive? Holistic, individualized, and relationship-based supports. This is why creative and recreational programming is so important for youth at Eva’s.
Bryn develops and facilitates this programming at Eva’s Place and has seen its impacts firsthand.
“My favourite time every week is our Thursday afternoon art group,” she says. “We have a mix of mediums and sometimes more structured projects, but there is always colouring pages and paper to draw on for people who don’t want to jump into something more involved. I have some regulars, but there are always new people who pop in each week, youth who don’t necessarily engage in other programming. The best conversations happen around that table. It’s so casual and feels so safe when we are all creating together, so a bit of magic happens.”
Recreation is a huge part of development for everyone, but specifically for residents at Eva’s.
Building interests and passions gives young people something to be excited about as they work toward exiting the shelter system. Bryn sees her role as promoting self-discovery through exploration and experimentation.
“Learning comfort around ‘failure’ is a huge part of all creative and recreational pursuits,” she explains, “and the benefit of developing that comfort translates into all parts of a young person’s life.”
Bryn also partners to bring artists and educators into the shelter space. During Black History Month, this community engagement meant a lot to the residents.
“We kicked the month off with a drumming circle, which was so fun and active and engaging!” says Bryn. “The youth loved it and asked if we could do it every Friday.”