Earlier this year, while struggling with a tough decision I found myself desperate to switch the negative to a positive. I ended up sitting in my craft room and started creating a canvas project. While working on this project, I was transported to a much more positive place. For many months, I devoted all my energy to getting a passion project/social venture off the ground. My dream was to employ those transitioning from homelessness in our community and nothing seemed to be clicking. As I sat in my craft room, I found myself wishing I could help people by teaching them to express their creativity. For 10+ years, I had worked in a paper crafting retail environment and taught classes to our customers. I loved teaching those classes and sharing in the creative process with my neighbours. What I had witnessed over the years was the positive effect the creative process had on people. There were customers that attended my classes looking to escape life for a couple hours and often doubting their own artistic abilities. Quite often these people left feeling relaxed and with more confidence in their abilities. New friendships blossomed and support systems took root inside the classroom. These new artists took pride in their completed projects and the boost to their self-esteem was evident. Years ago, I was very unfamiliar with the idea of art therapy and yet aware of the therapeutic benefits of the creative process. Ten years later, I found myself wondering if sharing my passion to create would be a great way to help those in need? Sometimes the universe has a very interesting way of presenting you with opportunities to grow and help others.
Last summer, my passion project The Bag Works worked with The Salvation Army's Gateway of Hope Residential program. The Bag Works received a large order from a local retailer and I was able to hire two women from the residential program at the Gateway of Hope. This summer, The Bag Works will be sewing some bags for the upcoming Kettle Campaign here in Langley. It was during this bag design meeting that I was told about the new art therapy program. The Gateway of Hope is in the process of developing an art therapy program to open in the Fall. While I am not a certified Art Therapist, I felt strongly I wanted to help source materials for use in the program. I hope I will also be able to teach a project or two along the way. But first we need to gather enough supplies to get started. Please find the call for donations below and should you have any questions, please contact The Gateway of Hope (contact info below) or visit my contact me page.