Art and Craft Kits for Our Neighbours Without Houses
One of the most dangerous things that can happen to a person during these dark days of winter is boredom, as well as a feeling of isolation from those hobbies and pastimes that once made us happy and content. Being separated from recreation opportunities used to be seen by many as only a minor inconvenience. Those of us who work in the recreation fields would often hear people diminish the worth of those activities as they relate to the prevention of poverty, homelessness, and addiction. Instead, they would cite the need for jobs, financial literacy, and shelter as being more important. These are, of course, very important preventative measures. However, as we move through this pandemic, many of us have come to realize that having those things does not, alone, protect our mental health and our physical health from becoming a serious issue, potentially threatening our very lives.
Along with other agencies and programs, the ICRWP continues to work to bring recreation opportunities to those who are living without homes and are accessing the drop-ins and shelters that are helping to ensure their safety and the safety of the entire community. By bringing art supplies, colouring and drawing options, puzzles, games, and cultural crafts into the centres, we are helping to make someone’s day a little better, and bringing some happiness and – if nothing else – a short respite from the boredom that can so easily lead to dark thoughts and loneliness.
The days are getting longer and the nights are getting shorter. As we move through the darkest days of winter, literally and figuratively, it is good to keep spring in our minds. Spring will bring new projects, new opportunities, new solutions, and new hope. However, seeing the glimmer promised by the coming season, and the hope of better times ahead, is a massive struggle for many of us – especially for our neighbours who are living without homes or with other barriers to recreation and wellness opportunities. As difficult as this winter is for us, if we can find a small way to help a neighbour feel a little less alone, or give them a moment of relief from boredom and isolation, we could be saving a life.
Mike Siek is a Program Facilitator with the ICRWP.