Art Therapy offered to the homeless; “This is a refuge within a refuge”

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Art is an escape for Sandra, who prefers we not use her last name.

With each cut and mold of the fabric she's working with, she feels the pain of homelessness disappear.

"It's a sense of pride, it gives me a sense of pride. It gives me something to do that I know I can do and I can handle," said Sandra.

Two-years ago Emily Nolan, who is an Assistant Professor of Art Therapy at Mount Mary University, felt inspired to offer this outlet at the homeless day shelter Repairers of the Breach.

"They've said over and over again that this is a refuge within a refuge," said Nolan.

Art Therapy uses the creative process to enhance the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of individuals.

They make projects encouraging the exploration of identity, with the goal of the clients seeing themselves as artists versus consuming themselves with negative feelings about being homeless.

"A lot of conversation at times will be tied to how they see themselves and how they view themselves in their life. So the therapy is really happening while we're all here together," said Nolan.

This group therapy can create a sense of community and boost confidence as homelessness can be very isolating.

"It also creates positive relationships so that they can support one another when there's such chaos that could happen in their daily life," said Nolan.

Changing lives with art supplies.

"It's fun to see the expression on the participants faces that they leave here so uplifted," said Nolan.

Art Therapy is offered at Repairers of the Breach every Tuesday from 9 am - 1 pm and Thursdays from 9 am - noon.

You can help by donating art materials such as colored pencils, blank masks, drawing paper, construction paper, canvases, spray paint, and sidewalk chalk.

These items can be dropped at Repairers of the Breach located at 1335 W. Vliet St., Milwaukee, WI 53205.

For more information on Repairers of the Breach, CLICK HERE.

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