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This week in Art Cart news the team discovered fewer people out today in MacArthur Park. Angela explained how many individuals get their checks on the first of the month and that they will spend their money on staying in a hotel or on food. This ensures safety and comfort for a few nights. Many individuals are homeless will choose to spend a few nights a month in a hotel to ensure adequate sleep, where they will be safe.
Despite fewer people in the Park we still had the opportunity to share our resources with a few individuals. We helped people get access to services close to the Park and told them the Painted Brain schedule so they can engage in art activities. One individual, in particular, discussed with us in Spanish about some of his struggles with alcohol. This was very challenging to see someone, who is trying to get sober, so they can have the opportunity to travel, work and engage more fully, but is struggling. This got me thinking more about the Addiction as Occupation Theory and how sobriety becomes the new occupation. Addiction as Occupation Theory argues that once something has become an addiction and is the central part of someone’s life it becomes difficult to engage in occupations. When one must change the central aspect of one’s life the addiction, it can be very challenging and lead to relapses.
We continue to hand out hygiene kits and water, which was a very popular item this week. We have decided as a group to start keeping a running total of the number of individuals we service each week and what the most common items are that are requested. This way we can be providing the best service to individuals.
We also had the opportunity to talk with one individual, who had previously worked a job as a tree trimmer. He explained the steps of the proper way to trim a palm tree. I learned some new useful information about a tree you don’t usually see in the mid-west, where I am from.
Sharon and I had the opportunity to talk with an individual who enjoys painting and playing the guitar. We were able to give him information on the VA Jam Session groupto aw him the opportunity to share his music with others. I hope to have the opportunity to get to hear some of his music in the coming weeks at the Jam Session. It was really amazing to get to see Sharon work in outreach with individuals. She really has a gift for it and I really appreciated the opportunity to get to learn from her.
Despite the lower number of individuals in the Park this week it was still a successful week. The Art Carts continued presence within MacArthur Park I hope will become seen as a common feature at the Park. This will help Painted Brain to reach more people with their message and services.