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The Art Cart continues to be a very successful venture for Painted Brain. This week we met some more really interesting new individuals and saw familiar faces again. We had fun doing some Halloween themed drawings. We rolled up and people were really eager to get deodorant from us, which I am glad Ashley and I bought. Since it was a hygiene item that was needed by many individuals. A familiar face had exciting news to announce!
One individual who has been a recurring participant with us at the art cart announced this week that he and his family have found permanent supported housing. It is so wonderful to hear success stories of how the organizations that have been coming to McArthur Park have been able to find and provide housing to those most in need. The Art Cart Team was excited to have gotten to be an outlet of support for this individual.
Additionally this week some new groups were in attendance, including the USC School of Dentistry! It was really nice to get to see more USC graduate students at the Park, representing our school and providing much needed dental screenings and free care to individuals.
I also had the opportunity to meet and talk with a new individual who enjoyed drawing comic book drawings and doing tattoo art. The individual was very gifted and it was wonderful to get to see some of his work and allow him the opportunity to share. Sharon discussed with the individual about how Painted Brain can be a great space to come and do more art, display your art and even possibilities for employment. Painted Brain is always looking for gifted artists to feature, whether it be in coloring books, t-shirts, or on their website. This individual has done artist work for tattoos, as well, which is a very interest area of art to learn more about.
The hardest part of the day was meeting a homeless youth. This youth was a very amazing artist and we enjoy drawing some Halloween themed artwork. I found it very hard for me to remain emotionally detached. I began to wonder about how a young person could end up homeless? What factors have precipitated this happening and what could be changed and done to ensure all the children and youth have all their needs meet and are kept safe.
The California Homeless Youth Project states that the National Average of homeless youth is estimated “between 1.6-2.1 million youth ages 12-24 our homeless over the course of a year” (Burt, Understanding Homeless Youth). This is due to various circumstances most common is family conflict, and aging out of the foster, juvenile detention, or mental health systems with few transitional supports (Fernandes,2007) (Administrative Office of the Courts, Beyond the Bench XVIII: Access and Fairness, 2007). I am thankful for all the wonderful organizations, like Painted Brain, PATH,Homeless Healthcare and others that work to provide people with many needs and outlets for support in all its forms- housing, education, work experience, community, social and art supports.
To be conscious and knowledgeable citizens I need to question these systems that allow individuals to age out and then be left with no supports, how can this be remedied? I couldn’t have at 18 years old be able to support myself on my own, so how can a system assumes that at 18 someone can be seen as an adult, who can fully and competently care for oneself? What would these changes look like and can they be done?
Painted Brain Occupational Therapy Intern