Projects at The Be Loved House!Posted: April 2, 2012
Thanks to Nicole Speropolous for this fabulous write-up about a project she did using ALIVE supplies, working with the homeless population at Be Loved House! Her words are as follows:
The group worked on painting a suitcase that holds all of the art that they make each week. It represents a safe place to hold the feelings that come forth in their art. The suitcase stays at the Be Loved House, unlike the backpacks they have to carry everyday. They’re expressing their emotional baggage, tucking it away in the suitcase and leaving it there.
The subject of this project was “community”, specifically what the Be Loved community means to them. Many of the members of this group are actually in the transitional living program and live at the Be Loved House. The directors live there as well and they function much like a family does. The directors provide a lot of support, encouragement, and education to the people who live there as well as to the people who come through every day.
I work with this group every week. We have about 5 people who live at the house in the transitional living program who participate every week and we usually have around 3-5 participants who are living on the streets and staying in shelters. The people on the transitional living program are working on getting stable and back out on their own. The Be Loved House helps them with practical needs and gives support and guidance. The art therapy group serves as a vehicle for healing. Often without some emotional work, it’s difficult for people to sustain environmental changes such as getting a job or a home. You can see from the finished product that the group feels loved and finds faith in being part of this community.
This project was different from ones we’ve done in the past because it was a group project. Until this point, they had only created individual drawings and paintings. In this project they had to work with one another. At times they were quiet and focused and at other times they were laughing and joking. Other people came through the room and added something to the suitcase here or there. Everyone was very respectful of one another’s images, in fact, it was difficult for them to make their images touch or connect. It took seeing one or two people working on integrating the images for the rest of the group to become comfortable with it.
The reason I work with this community is because people who are on the streets or in transition have experienced trauma and can benefit from the healing power of art. When I started this group, many members said they hadn’t made art in years, not since they were children. They were excited to have the opportunity to be creative and soon were really enjoying themselves. I often strive to help them focus on strengths, positives and to experience some joy. These elements along with creating a sense of community have been proven to assist people in their recovery process by actually making changes in their brain that make them more resilient. This helps people to heal from past hurts and to be better able to cope with future challenges. The Be Loved community welcomes me every week and makes me feel like I belong. I feel honored to be working with such a kind and caring group of people.
Love People, give them art.