Thursday, March 22, 2012

reStart Art Room Makeover: Before & After Pics

Be the change you wish to see in this world.” 

Mahatma Gandhi taught us to fight for what we believe in and to make the changes we wish to see in our lives. It is with this inspiration that HALO Center volunteers and youth jumped at an opportunity to make a change that hit very close to home.

Youth and volunteers spent a combined total of 140 hours this past week working diligently to make-over the art room at reStart, Inc.  Below is a before picture.

First, the team focused on wiping down the walls to get rid of any dust or dirt that may interfere with repainting the walls.

30 youth and 15 HALO volunteers hit it hard painting the ceiling yellow like the sun…

… one wall light blue like the sky…

…and the other three a vibrant bright HALO Center blue to create an environment of creativity and inspiration.

After a week of dedication, some volunteers and youth show their excitement at the success of their hard work.

Lights and art work were hung…

…as well as framed photos of the youth…

…to honor the week’s worth of service in a special reception where parents and reStart staff were invited to see the unveiling of the new and improved art room.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

My Lucky Charm

Throughout the entirety of The HALO Foundation - from staff in Kansas City, to volunteers in Portland, to youth in Uganda - we will now be focusing on monthly themes, designed to help all learn and grow together. March's theme is Accountability. 

Our team of Short Term Program Volunteers dedicated to reStart’s Youth Emergency Shelter, Andrew Stanley, Samantha Neal, Sam Gabbert and Patrick Smith put their heads together and came up with an extremely creative take on accountability to implement with the youth. March’s unit of workshops for reStart’s Youth Emergency Shelter includes making lucky charm key chains, dream catchers, personal postcards and dream jars. Each project embodies accountability as the youth create pieces that allow them to share their goals with each other, with HALO Center volunteers, with family and friends and with reStart staff. Each project serves as a reminder of what we are working toward and becomes our own personal accountability measure.

Tonight’s workshop was to create lucky charm key chains. Goals or aspirations were written down on paper. Youth used clay to mold their lucky charm and put their goal inside. Paper clips helped to hook the lucky charm to the key chain ring and, whola!, a personal accountability lucky charm. Attach to book bag, keys, belt loop, etc. to be consistently reminded of your dreams.

A rocket lucky charm drying. 

How do you hold yourself accountable? Post your answer on our Facebook wall.

Friday, March 2, 2012

New Approach: Making our Dreams a Reality

The HALO Center’s motto is, “I am the difference between dreams and reality.” Encouraging all youth to truly believe that they have the power to shape their own futures and giving them the skills and resources to do so is our primary goal. Upon the writing of our 2012 Strategic Plan for The HALO Center, we found a way to restructure our programming to ensure that we are being as impactful as possible in the time spent with each youth; whether that time frame is one workshop or an entire years’ worth. 
This chart shows the break down of the different programming offered to youth through The HALO Learning Center.

We are excited to announce that we will be restructuring our workshops into two different focuses: Short Term and Long Term Programming. Our Short Term Programming is designed for the agencies we partner with whose programs are shorter in length: 21 days to 3 months. Since programs that are shorter in length are typically homeless shelters or transitional programs, it is quite common for youth to be able to attend a workshop one week and have moved onto another facility by the next. We have created our Short Term Program to be sensitive to this reality while offering as much stability to the youth as possible.

The Short Term Programs are run by teams of volunteers who get together once a month to plan and execute that month’s worth of activities – what we call a unit. These units are designed so that if one child is able to attend all four weeks’ activities, he/she is able to benefit from the umbrella theme or focus. But, for the child that is only there once or only there on the 1st and the 3rd week, they too are able to benefit equally since each week’s activity begins and ends before the workshop is over. Also, there is added benefit to seeing the same volunteers each week. Now, all youth in attendance are given an opportunity to be creative, heard, listened to, encouraged and empowered by a caring HALO Center volunteer.

The Short Term Programming was inspired by this group of volunteers who work with reStart’s Family Shelter youth every Monday night.

Our Long Term Programs are offered to the agencies whose programs are longer in timeframe: 3 months to years. This program has been developed with a vocational style focus; youth will be able to sign up for semester long, trade style workshops like woodworking, mechanics, cosmetology, graphic design, photography, sewing, etc. Youth will be given an opportunity to sign up for the classes of their interest and, upon completion of the semester, will receive a HALO Center Certificate in their area of focus. This certificate will communicate the different skills learned throughout the duration of the course. Youth will be able to take these certificates in to area mechanic or woodworking shops as proof of their proficiency in the area. We are equally excited to launch the Long Term Program (this summer) as the youth involved will gain professional skills they can immediately take away to use within our community.

Youth will have an opportunity to learn skills like what Austin is doing in this picture through our Long Term Programs.

There are many ways to get involved in the Short Term and Long Term Programs, as well as the Apprenticeship Program. Email if you are interested in finding out more.