This week’s visit to the Youth Centre was different and difficult, for me as well as for the children. It was challenging. From the moment I arrived, I could sense what I can describe as a chaotic atmosphere. The kids were a bit out of control. It was as if their little bodies were filled with an energetic force that needed to explode.
It was almost impossible to get anything done. My voice had little or no impact on them, or so it seemed.
After quite a struggle, they did manage to finish their art for the day. But then one of the kids went and did his own art on some of the other children’s canvases, and there was a verbal and physical fight between them. I was taken aback, and a little surprised by how quickly their behavior turned aggressive and violent. Even our usual snack time served as another platform for a fight.
Who knows what they have had to handle in their personal lives? At the beginning of their weekend, who was available to them to guide them through their homeless struggles?
I am saddened. The children’s behavior proved to me once again how hungry they are for love, affirmation, acceptance, attention and encouragement.
For most of us these are basic human needs, and we take it for granted that they should be met. However, for them, this is not necessarily the case.
The art activity I do with them every week seems to be a very small token of love in comparison to what they need. I am convinced that it is not the art they need most, but for me to meet them where they are at any given moment.
Here are some of their canvasses.