People who live in homeless shelters are going through a phase in their lives that they may not be proud of, and as a matter of fact, some of the people in homeless shelters are depressed.
One of the ways to make the stay of residents of a homeless shelter worthwhile is to create engaging activities that will help them stay connected and forget about the many troubles they have to deal with.
Trust me, creating engaging activities for homeless shelters is a thoughtful way to provide support and help individuals feel a sense of community.
Note that when creating engaging activities for residents of homeless shelters, it should be done based on the preferences and needs of the individuals in the shelter.
Also, you must make sure you build some of your engaging activities in such a way that the local community and volunteers can be involved. Here are 10 activities that can be both enjoyable and beneficial for those staying in homeless shelters.
Best Engaging Activities for Homeless Shelters
Art and Craft Workshops
Interestingly, there are several engaging activities you can create around arts and crafts workshops. You can offer a structured program where participants can engage in expressive art therapy. Provide materials for painting, drawing, and other forms of artistic expression.
Consider bringing in a qualified art therapist to guide sessions, helping individuals explore and process their emotions through art. You can also create a program focused on upcycling and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects.
Collect materials like old clothing, furniture, or other discarded items and teach participants how to repurpose them into something new and functional. This not only encourages creativity but also provides practical skills.
Job Skills Training
One of the major reasons why some people end up in a homeless shelter is because they lost their jobs. In essence, one of the engaging activities that can also serve as an economic empowerment program for the residents of a homeless shelter is to organize job skills training.
Interestingly, there is room for collaboration hence you should look towards collaborating with local organizations in your community to offer job skills training sessions. This can include resume building, interview skills, and basic computer literacy.
Wellness and Exercise Classes
Wellness and exercise classes are structured programs designed to promote physical fitness, mental well-being, and overall health.
These classes typically involve a combination of physical activity, education on health-related topics, and techniques for stress management. The goal is to enhance participants’ overall quality of life by addressing various aspects of well-being.
You can arrange for yoga, meditation, or exercise classes, or get videos or a coach to come at least twice a week to take the resident through routine wellness and exercise classes.
Book Clubs or Reading Groups
All you need to do is set up a space for reading and organize book clubs or reading groups within the homeless shelter facility.
Book clubs or reading groups will not only encourage literacy but will also create a sense of community among residents of the homeless shelter.
Interestingly, you can get some bookshops, libraries, and authors in and around your community to donate books to your homeless shelter
This activity is applicable if your homeless shelter has enough space. A community garden is a piece of land collectively cultivated by a group of people in a community.
It is a shared space where individuals or groups can grow fruits, vegetables, flowers, or herbs. Participants in community gardens have the opportunity to grow their own fresh and organic produce, which can contribute to improved nutrition and food security.
Trust me, community gardening can bring a sense of responsibility for residents of the homeless shelter, and gardening is known to have therapeutic effects and can promote mental well-being. It provides a peaceful and contemplative environment for participants to connect with nature and reduce stress.
Music and Dance Workshops
In the United States of America, music is a big industry, and it is one industry that can take someone from obscurity to limelight within the shortest time frame.
In essence, one of the engaging activities that you should consider introducing in your homeless shelter is a music and dance workshop.
You can start by inviting local musicians or dance instructors to conduct workshops for residents in your homeless shelter, and you can also introduce karaoke.
Apart from the fact that residents of your homeless shelter will enjoy the music and dance sessions, this activity will also offer a means of self-expression for residents of your homeless shelter.
Guest Speaker Series
As expected, most residents of homeless shelters are always at the lowest ebb of their lives hence any activities that will help lift their spirits up should be welcome.
One such activity is to organize events that will bring in guest speakers to speak to them, share their stories or expertise, and motivate them.
Although most homeless shelters might not have the money to hire motivational speakers, career mentors, or individuals who have overcome homelessness, you can appeal to them to come on a volunteer basis.
You can host cooking classes to teach residents of your homeless shelter basic cooking skills. You can collaborate with local chefs, restaurants, and caterers in your community to once in a while come in to take your residents on a series of cooking classes.
Trust me, your cooking classes will not only provide useful life skills for residents of your homeless shelter, but it can also be a fun and social activity for them to connect and be happy.
Support groups are gatherings of individuals who come together to share their experiences, concerns, and coping strategies related to a specific challenge, condition, or life situation.
These groups provide a supportive and empathetic environment where members can openly discuss their feelings, challenges, and triumphs.
Support groups can cover a wide range of topics and serve various purposes, including emotional support, information sharing, and the promotion of coping skills.
Pet Therapy Programs
If you operate a pet-friendly shelter, then you should consider starting pet therapy programs. Pet therapy programs, also known as animal-assisted therapy or animal-assisted activities, involve the incorporation of trained animals into therapeutic interventions to improve the physical, emotional, social, and cognitive functioning of individuals.
These programs typically involve certified therapy animals and their handlers working alongside healthcare professionals or trained therapists.
In other to get it right with your pet therapy programs, you can collaborate with local animal shelters to bring in therapy animals.
The primary goals of pet therapy programs are to enhance the well-being of individuals and promote various therapeutic outcomes.
Benefits may include reduced stress and anxiety, improved mood, increased socialization, and enhanced overall quality of life. Trust me, interacting with animals can have positive effects on mental health.