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.”
Eva’s Place Drumming Event
Picture of a Raptor’s Game Youth Attended
Under the surface, there’s always more going on.
Recreation presents an opportunity to build mental health, wellness, and life skills in “back door” ways. It leads to confidence and self-esteem, communication and self-expression, team work and collaboration, and motivation and self-knowledge.
“Experiences like these make you feel so honoured, because for me, I didn’t think I would experience such a fun-filled amazing time,” – Youth at Eva’s who attended a Raptors Game.
Eva’s Recreation Programming helps youth build the vital skills they need to find purpose and passion and deal with life’s challenges.
In honour of National Social Work Month, we also asked Bryn to tell us a little bit about herself.
“I have a lot of hobbies and things I’m passionate about,” she says. “I play music and my band plays around the city a lot. I also screen print and love making tees. I spend a lot of time at the gym and do yoga and archery. I love to cook and bake and read and go to the movies. I also love to veg out with my kitties and watch TV. But I never have enough time to do that!”
As a young person, Bryn faced a lot of challenges and was street-involved herself. She worked in theatre and went to school for international development before deciding to become a social worker.
“I discovered very quickly that I had a passion for working with youth, especially doing creative programming with marginalized youth,” she said. “Even though there were twists and turns along the way, I think I ended up where I was always supposed to be.”