For a little over six years, Clear Lake City-County Freeman Branch Library (and others) has volunteered to provide crafting goods to our local shelter to brighten the days of some of the children that all too often end up in there. HCPL often provides services above and beyond the normal boundaries of our regular jobs and we take that position with pride. These crafts come from our hearts and go with our blessings in hopes of inspiring others to do the same!
From Valentines’ Day, Martin Luther King Day, and regular STEM activities, these kits are all handmade and handpicked for every occasion and in between.
A lot of thought goes into the craft kits. Because we don’t know the ages of children living there at any given time, we make sure that kids of any age can enjoy the crafts. We also make crafts holiday neutral to ensure that the whole experience is inclusive.
Freeman Branch is so dedicated to the cause that they have a sign up sheet so that they don't overdo the current seasons affiliated craft. They also have a backlog of many kits that are ready to go at any given time so there is no shortage of activities in the event that the shelters need more. It's a task that they step up for readily and is a duty that is not in short supply in terms of volunteers.
Libraries are stepping up in a time of need until we can control and balance a system that desperately needs an overhaul in order to prevent such mental health risks to our future generations. It's a task that we take on in addition to our normal day-to-day duties as we understand that children are at risk when put in a situation where they no longer have a consistent home or belongings of their own. Kids are very observant. They notice stress and environmental changes from their parents, peers, and community; Often taking on this burden, hoping to relieve worry in their new circumstances.
I don’t know the exact science of what it is about crafting that soothes the soul but I’ll be the first to admit to pulling out my drawing pad or needlework to de-stress from a hard day. I know that being able to do this helps me so I cannot imagine the type of relief it can bring to those children that deserve so much more. Consider donating some of your time to learn more about homelessness and the effects it has on our children and community. Ryan Dowd, a shelter representative that works in a shelter and gives trainings on working directly with the homeless, has put out an excellent book that has a ton of useful tips and tricks. Just the thing we need more of to develop the proper systems to nurturing our suffering shelter communities.
Adults aren't the only ones affected by homeslessness. Take a look at a few of these reads to see the effects on a nuclear family and our children.