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Unity House Gets Creative

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Unity House Gets Creative

CREATIVE WRITING & ART GROUPS

Residents at Unity House have been invigorating their creative sides the last few months thanks to Jen Russel. She’s one of Unity House’s Support Services Specialists, and she’s presented the program’s residents with a wide range of opportunities to get creative in her art and creative writing groups.

The groups started specifically because of resident feedback last summer. A few residents said they wanted new group topics around these ideas, and Jen got to work making this request happen. Ever since, Unity House has been a program filled with art and inspiration.

In her creative writing group, residents have discussed recovery-themed poems written by Greg Sykes, our Assistant Director of Reintegration Services. They’ve also written pieces based on prompts on things like fear, inspiration, the future, and others. Meanwhile in the art group, residents have worked on paintings, birdhouses, wood cutouts for Halloween and Thanksgiving, centerpieces, coasters, a mural, and more.

Jen’s ideas are inspired by her mom, who’s very crafty. She also finds plenty of ideas on TikTok and Pinterest. “I spend a little too much time on TikTok watching the Dollar Tree DIYs,” she said. This is a great resource, though, as it keeps these projects affordable and accessible for people who want to continue creating after they leave Unity House.

Unity House residents Brion and Kennon in front of recovery collages
Unity House residents Brion and Kennon in front of recovery collages

In fact, a former resident who’s currently in Supportive Living is still going strong with his creativity. He’s even gotten his new roommate involved with refurbishing wooden boxes. “When I have a house visit with them, I get to see their projects,” said Jen.

REKINDLING RESIDENTS’ CREATIVITY

Christian, Kennon, and Brion are all current residents at Unity House who frequently attend Jen’s groups. Both Kennon and Brion liked art when they were younger. “I was always into art and painting” said Kennon. “I loved it.” Rekindling his skills has been really healing for him. “It makes me feel like a kid again,” he said. Brion liked drawing, and he said that these groups have helped him with perseverance. “They taught me to be patient with myself,” he said. Christian wasn’t interested in art much before, but he’s really enjoyed the art projects Jen’s conducted. He does have some experience in creative writing, however. He’s actually had some of his poetry published.

Kennon, Christian, Jenn, Pedro, and Andrew in front of Unity House’s Recovery Mural
Kennon, Christian, Jenn, Pedro, and Andrew in front of Unity House’s Recovery Mural 

All three agree that these groups are helpful in their recovery, and they’re all very appreciative for what Jen’s brought to the program. Christian said that she’s “a top-notch counselor.” Jen said these groups give residents something to look forward to. Speaking of something to look forward to, she’s already getting residents ready for Unity House’s next mural. “It’s been nice to see them getting back into their hobbies,” said Jen.

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