Who We Serve, and Why

Posted on May 11, 2017 in Blog | No Comments

Photo by Michael Woolsey

The phrase “Homeless and Underserved Children” in our mission statement covers a wide spectrum of young people, living in a variety circumstances. They are children, dealing with either poverty or low-income situations. All of them live amidst financial challenges, and most face housing insecurity as well.

DrawBridge kids live in seven different Bay Area counties, and their housing ranges from very temporary (homeless shelters and safe houses) to more stable, low-income neighborhoods. Currently more than one-third of the facilities we serve house families for six months or less.

The other common denominator for these kids is that they all love art, and are healed by it. One of our facilitators, Sonja L., told about her experience with a new group:

“During our first few sessions, the depth of pain, anger, confusion and resentment in our artists became obvious, in their relating to each other as well as their handling of (art) materials. There was crying; there was yelling; deeply hurtful language was used.

“The Drawbridge program has been a learning and growing experience for myself as much as it has been for the kids themselves. It’s absolutely amazing how quickly the same children began to exhibit a completely different set of behaviors: hugging, kind words, support for one another, laughter, deep focus and commitment to their art projects, and respect. A sense of community and safety within this community was built through trust, support, shared emotional connection, sense of belonging and identification, thoughtfulness and care.”

In a world of inconsistency and insecurity, DrawBridge offers kids a stable, supportive environment, and a chance to express themselves and be heard. Says longtime Facilitator and Board member Kathleen K.,

“We offer consistency to these kids. We come in every week, the same facilitators and volunteers, and we bring the art materials. We don’t teach them about techniques. If we teach them anything, it’s just about how to be present with themselves and express themselves.

“What we really are about is inspiring and transforming the kids, to help them be more resilient and healthy human beings through art making. It’s as easy as that, and it works.”

And that’s why we keep on doing what we do.