When we came across DrawBridge while researching potential charities, how could we say no? I mean, helping beautiful children of the Bay Area with… ART?!
DrawBridge - an expressive arts program for homeless children and other vulnerable youth operates in seven California counties: San Mateo, Alameda, San Francisco, Sonoma, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Marin.
DrawBridge's founder developed a highly effective method of using expressive arts to help these children and youth work through the complex emotions associated with homelessness and family dysfunction. While offering this method for art groups at two Marin County emergency shelters, social workers, community leaders, and formerly homeless parents had an opportunity to observe the transforming effect of this process on the lives of homeless kids.
In late 1991, DrawBridge was created as a vehicle to expand this work. Today, DrawBridge is dedicated to mitigating the appalling effects of homelessness on children presently residing in family emergency shelters, transitional and low-income housing facilities and Domestic Violence Shelters. Families residing in these facilities may stay for anywhere from 1 day to many years depending on the type of facility.
The average age of a homeless person in America is nine. An estimated 44,000 children in 66,000 Bay Area families were homeless in 2005. Homeless children commonly experience loss, anger, depression, hopelessness, and isolation. These emotions have an overwhelmingly negative impact on children. Ideally, increased support would be provided during this time, but the reality is that there are few outlets for the emotional needs of children in shelters.
Shelters focus on the survival needs of parents. Parents are unable to provide the extra support needed by their children because their own emotional resources are depleted in a time of crisis. The children, sensing the parents' stress, often subjugate their own needs. At school, homeless children often begin a cycle of poor performance that has severe long-term effects.
Art helps these children release the build-up of potentially destructive emotions. The nonjudgmental and loving support of the DrawBridge staff enables the children to rebuild a sense of control and self-worth. Trained facilitators use art to transform self-hate into self-respect, violence into compassion, and powerlessness into active participation. The children put into images feelings they are unable to speak. Slowly, their stories emerge and their voices are heard. The art facilitator can then begin a much needed process of communication between the child and their parents, shelter staff, the schools, and the larger community. DrawBridge reaches over 1700 children in the various sites each year.
All proceeds from our Handmade Ho Down Raffle and HHD Zine will benefit the children of DrawBridge. We invite all vendors and attendees to bring along any unused or unwanted art supplies to the door at Handmade Ho Down. Tax-deductible receipts will be given if needed, along with a free gift!
Requested donations include the following:
Color and white paper
Tempera and acrylic paints
All forms of Clay: Self hardening, Model magic, Sculpey
Mini Pom Poms
Paper maiche strips
Masking tape of all colors
Small or Child Safe Scissors
iPods and speakers for art groups
Polaroid cameras and Film
We also want all shoppers to take advantage of the Official Handmade Ho Down Gift Wrapping station, to get all your holiday gifts hand wrapped by volunteers of DrawBridge. All donations for this gift wrapping go directly to DrawBridge!
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