Anthe Captian-Valais visited the Laurel House and this is what she had to say. “I went to teach Drawing-from-Music.
On my first visit to the facility I was not sure what to expect. I knew that the women were there for all different reasons, some were escaping violent situations at home, others due to homelessness and other reasons. I was thinking that bringing therapeutic art sessions through drawing to them would be good thing because it would take them away from their situation during through the creative process in a positive way. That being said I never anticipated what happened when the children showed up with their mothers.
Safety in these facilities, along with providing clothing and shelter are paramount. It was a small intimate setting in the kitchen where I would conduct the workshops.
The room had four 4 ft tables. Two were intersecting the walls and two were adjacent to the walls. One of the mothers walked in with a 2 year old little girl. She was so cute, lets call her “Dolly”. I thought to myself oh my, how am I going to engage a two year old for two hours, which is the general length of these workshops.
Well we took Dolly, the mom and I, and put her in a high chair with paper and watercolor markers. The mom sat down right next to her youngster and as the music played they drew right next to one another. Mom is shown upper and Dolly on the left. Much to my amazement Dolly was happy and content the entire 2 hour session. The only time we heard a peep out of her other than cooing was when we took the drawing materials away. The tenderness in which the mothers and children interacted to create the drawings was a bit of an atonishment.
I instructed the mothers on how to work with the children in their rooms. The mothers and their children could escape from any stress they had simple by coloring. Creating their own coloring books would be a positive tool for them to have in their parenting arsenal.
When I went there I had drawing paper in ample supply to leave with them but it did not dawn on me at the time that they wouldn’t have any supplies to call their own. Many of the women leave with the clothes on their back as well as the children so going to the dollar store or anywhere else for drawing materials was not going to happen. All future workshops materials will be left for them to have.
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