A Visit with Homeless Children

 A very warm welcome was given to my friend and me as we entered the Salvation Army Shelter for the Homeless on E 22nd.

 The purpose of our visit was to talk with homeless children to get an idea of what they may be going through. I had anticipated seeing youthful sad and weary faces, however, this was not the case. Smiling children buzzing around a brightly painted playroom set a pleasant atmosphere that night. Not one child seemed disturbed by the fact that he or she was currently without a home of his or her own.

 As a result of their family's situation, the children are forced to reside with several others.  This can foster havoc in a youngster’s life.  Getting along with others in a skill these children must develop at a young age.

 In the instance of being homeless and more or less living in a commune way of life, the result for children is a lack of routine. Some kind of routine or something that will stay the same - is an important element for children. It's one of the things that helps them realize a sense of security.

Unfortunately, homeless children are missing this stability. So although the children themselves may not be aware of how homelessness is affecting them and their behavior, all those adults who come into contact with them should be.

 This can't always be easy! We were only there for a few hours and the amount of energy in the room was so great it could not be measured! But they seemed excited by the idea of coloring for us - and that we wanted to keep the finished product!

 Well, here are some of the finished products. It was amazing to watch their imaginations come to life through their crayons. The way kids express their thoughts and ideas can be very powerful. And homeless kids, just like all the rest, only need a little encouragement and positive support to help bring out the best in them. May you enjoy these as much as we do!

 Copyright Homeless Grapevine and NEOCH Issue 4 December 1993- January 1994