In our Crisis Program, youth receive safe, supported housing, nutritious meals, clothing, hygiene supplies, employment and education supports, and access to counsellors and social workers. But there is so much more to the program than that. Youth have been very busy over the past few weeks participating in many exciting activities. From art and books to game nights and makeup workshops, along with snuggles with our therapy dog, there is something for everyone. Our youth workers spend a lot of time crafting and curating activities based on the youth’s needs and interests and create a safe space where they can momentarily let go of their worries and stress and just have fun. Youth have been engaged and entertained with activities hosted by our incredible youth workers. Here are some of the activities that youth have been involved with.
Open Art Sessions
Youth workers hosted open art sessions where youth could drop in and engage in painting, drawing or any other artistic activity. Open Studios are a space for creative self-expression. Exploring creativity can be a powerful tool for supporting mental wellness and a positive means for externally expressing emotions, as a way to help heal from trauma.
The weekly book club commenced this past week, which gave youth a reprieve from the warm weather. Youth were happy to be able to take a little bit of time to relax before getting started with their day, by reading books of their choosing, for about an hour. Book clubs are a great way to connect with the youth, who are often enquiring about recommendations for good reads, while they share and discuss their thoughts on what they are reading amongst themselves and with youth workers, who may suggest a series to engage youth, based on their interests.
Kenzie, our therapy dog and her owner David, can be found greeting the youth on Saturdays. Youth have noted that Kenzie always provides them with a sense of calm and joy. For youth experiencing hardship, trauma, and challenging times, any opportunity to be worry- and stress-free is tremendous. Creating a moment and space for youth to breathe, let go of their stress, and relax is critical to their well-being, which is why staff advocated for this program.
Dogs offer social support, love, and acceptance in a way that humans can’t. Studies have shown that after interacting with a therapy dog, people feel less stressed and less anxious.
There was an in-house drag workshop earlier this month that featured a staff member/drag queen, who identifies as a person with a physical disability. She joined the workshop as a special guest and talked to the youth about what performing with a disability is like and shared with the youth what drag means to her. The group then reflected on and discussed examples of drag make
The new music room at CHV is a safe space where youth can go to learn an instrument, improve their skills, and improve peer relationships by playing together. Fully stocked with all of the instruments you can dream of, youth are able to healthily express themselves through music. Whether it be learning a new instrument with the support of a youth worker, karaoke nights, or learning about audio mixing and songwriting, youth can find a way to connect and heal, in a way that only music engagement can do. Active music-making truly engages your entire brain. It not only creates the largest potential for distraction, but it also aids in pain reduction, cognition, fine and gross motor development, and expression. In addition, some instruments are designed to be easier to access and learn.