Friday, October 21, 2011

One week and a successful BBQ later...

Saturday proved to be the most perfect weather for a field trip to City Market. Fifteen reStart Family Shelter youth, five HALO Center volunteers, two reStart employees and one reStart mother divided into three groups: Fruits, Peppers, Onions and Celery, Seasoning and Pita. Everyone loaded into two vans and headed toward the market. It took only about 10 minutes for all teams to search and find the best looking and most inexpensive produce. The rest of the afternoon was left for exploring all that is City Market. Youth listened to musicians playing their original music, bounced around inside a Jumping Castle, enjoyed delicious popcorn, gazed at beautiful locally grown flowers, and were amazed as they stood on the back of a young man who used mind over matter to lay his entire body on top of broken glass. After jumping back into the van, I heard the reStart mother who attended as a chaperon say she planned to come back more often to take advantage of the great offering of produce, at a great price.

Monday’s weather wasn’t as cooperative, but thanks to helpful reStart employees and HALO Center volunteers, our BBQ easily transitioned from a ‘grill out’ to a ‘grill in’. Youth divided into decorating and preparation groups, and worked away to prepare for the night. When the food was ready, 27 youth and more than 10 parents enjoyed the delicious food that was prepared with love. I heard one mother whisper to her son, “What is hummus again?” Her son, seeming a little disappointed in his mother’s memory, said, “MOM! It’s …” and whispered the recipe in her ear.

Youth from reStart’s Family Shelter live, with their families, in one of two programs: the family emergency homeless shelter or the family transitional living program. The emergency shelter has 10 housing units and families live there for 21 days - with the immediate goal of finding more permanent housing. The transitional living program offers 40 units; families can live in this program for up to two years. reStart provides its families with housing and employment groups focusing on financial planning and budgeting, life skills and parenting classes, therapy, school uniforms and other needed clothing, hygiene and school supplies, weekly access to a dependable health clinic, paid prescriptions and eye wear. The HALO Center is so proud to partner with reStart’s Family Shelters to help provide art therapy, self-expressive and creative opportunities for youth to explore themselves, express how they feel and engage in their own development.

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