Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Making Life Better For Homeless Children


Yesterday we learned about what life can be like for children whose families are homeless. But there are many programs out there meant to help children who are homeless. The programs listed here are mostly small, localized programs started by individuals. Someday maybe every homeless child will have access to programs like these!

DrawBridge: Based in San Rafael, California, this program is an art therapy program for homeless children. The children are able to use their artwork to communicate their feelings, and then the art therapist uses the artwork to help the child communicate with family members, shelter staff, teachers, etc.

ArtBridge: Similar to DrawBridge, this Houston-based program brings art and music classes to children in homeless shelters to give them away to express themselves and develop their creativity.

The Actor's Theatre Workshop: Acting classes and workshops for homeless children!

Horizons For Homeless Children: This Massachussetts program creates community centers for homeless children, offering child care and other opportunities. The organization also creates specialplay centers in homeless shelters where children live. The play centers are run by adult mentors who play with and communicate with the children to help them get the most out of their playtime!

Birthday Wishes, Inc: Brings birthday parties... complete with cake, games, decorations and gifts... to children living in homeless shelters in Massachussetts.

Camp Homeward Bound: A special summer camp for New York children who are homeless.

School On Wheels: Has programs in Indiana and Massachussetts. This program is dedicated to making it easier for homeless children to learn. They provide 1:1 tutoring, backpacks and school supplies, and assistance in getting enrolled in local schools. They also have a toll-free number so children who have to move away from a shelter unexpectedly can keep in touch with tutors and other staff members they've grown close to.

The Playtime Project: Based in Washington DC, this program brings playtime to kids in shelters each week. Volunteers come to shelters, where different play areas are set up (sports, reading, arts and crafts, games, etc) Volunteers then play with the children and communicate with them, and the children also recieve a healthy snack. This gives the children some time to just be kids.

Project Night-Night: Children in homeless shelters recieve special packages with a book, a special blanket, and a stuffed animal, to help make going to bed in a shelter be more comfortable.

If you would like to help homeless children, try volunteering in a homeless shelter! Many shelters have their own mentoring programs or childcare programs and will match you up with a child who could use someone like you in their lives!

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