An empowered voice
We caught up with Lolita, a client of the Emergency Program, after her interview with Lindy McNamara from the Southern Cross for a 30th Birthday article.
In her words ” I really enjoyed speaking up, particularly at the moment as I am going through a down period. What it showed me is, that despite how I am feeling today, I was able to get through it and do the interview. I could not have done that if I was not here. Just to get dressed up for the occasion, I have not done that since early December, when we had the End of Year Celebration. I feel empowered by having a voice and love it when people look deeper at me, into the skills and attributes I have.
Advocacy is part of what this is about- the interview and this work fulfils me more than any other work I have done. To hear from Deb, a worker at Catherine House for over 25 years was fascinating. To learn how the programs have grown and developed, how hard things were in the beginning, is really inspirational. What stood out is that staff really believe in the philosophy, and are here because they want to be, not just for the money, it gave me a different insight. When I am down I think about the cards and certificates I have received and the kind words and encouragement, that’s what gets me through.”
Coming to Life through art
Sara moved into our permanent accommodation December 2014. Years of unwellness and social isolation resulted in losing the habit and desire to talk or look after herself. Moving into a communal setting with 11 other women was daunting despite the warmth, safety, care of staff and residents.
It took over a year for Sara to exhibit signs she was feeling settled and comfortable. Then one day she surprised all when she responded to the ongoing encouragement to do some of her colouring with the Art group in the Women’s Centre. This was the first step back to her love of art which she explained she enjoyed since she was 16.
She was delighted when the art teacher suggested she exhibit some of her freelance drawings in the 2016 CHART Exhibition and proposed a way to showcase her individual favourite pieces. These begin as pencil drawings of images from children’s colouring books- which are then roughly coloured in.
When we sat down with Sara recently she explained she now has 100’s of pages of these colourings and was surprised she enjoys producing these as much as she does. Sara explained that while she usually sits quietly in the class, she really enjoys the company of the other women and that makes her feel good. Art class has helped her expand her skills trying paint and pastels, though not keen on these as they are too messy for her.
As for the future, when visitors see her portfolio of work they all say “oh wow this would make amazing children’s wrapping paper!” Sara continues with this art as she is hoping to turn this idea into a reality as she said “If I could get some money out of it- it would give me some incentive, beyond a pleasant way to pass the time “.
Watch this space……