Catalyst House has been hard at work creating beautiful gift baskets for the holiday season, and it’s all a part of the home’s journey of reconnection!
The pandemic has been a time of isolation for the whole world, and YouthCare’s community living homes have also felt the effects. Quarantine can have a compounded impact on young people who are already coming from difficult roads with the urge to guard and isolate themselves. Two years into the pandemic, Catalyst House, a YouthCare residential community living home for youth ages 18 – 21, was a still and quiet place with everyone shut into their rooms.
This changed last spring when the staff at Catalyst rallied everyone to restart the home’s weekly community meetings. Initially concerned that the youth would be uninterested in participating, they were quickly surprised when the meetings proved to be a hit from the start.
Martin, Catalyst’s Program Director, says, “We wanted to build a sense of community, so every Sunday clients meet downstairs and eat and talk about their week. It has helped foster a sense of community where clients now hang out with each other outside of the house. They’ll drag each other around and play games. They came in one day and did karaoke.”
“It has helped foster a sense of community where clients now hang out with each other outside of the house.“Martin Awachie, Program Manager at Catalyst
Tammi, Case Manage at Catalyst, agrees: “They’re starting to form their own community activities. They started a community walk, and all of them went and they were even trying to get staff to go with them. When we first started cooking on Sundays, the clients would be in there helping, and then in the morning, they would all be in the kitchen cooking pancakes together. Over time, it’s built this community where they’re really close, and they do things together and they pitch in. Everybody is invested in each other’s success. ”
It also helps that the meetings are centered around food and fun activities. A recent project was making soap and body scrubs, which were then put into gift baskets to give out. Tammi has a history of making gift baskets and handmade soap and thought it would be fun to make them for the holiday season and give them out as gifts. The colorful varieties of soap provided endless creative options, and the gift baskets have been a hit.
Community meetings have also proved to be a valuable place to learn interpersonal conflict skills. Tammi comments, “Clients can talk if they’re having issues, for example, if people aren’t cleaning the bathroom. It gets them to problem solve and resolve conflict between themselves.”
These days Catalyst House is full of laughter and the sounds of a community living life together. Connection has the power to light people up and cause them to flourish in new ways, even for those who have found it difficult to connect. Tammi relates, “We have clients who struggled to form friendships, but who now have friends. One client was bullied their whole life and didn’t have any friends, but he’s been safe here and now has friends and is even asking people out for coffee.”
“One client was bullied their whole life and didn’t have any friends, but he’s been safe here and now has friends and is even asking people out for coffee.”Tammi Woodall, Case Manager at Catalyst
A residence alight with community, valuable relationships, and the stability of practical support, Catalyst House is thriving as a safe home and family for Youthcare’s young people as they find joy in connection and meaning in community.
To learn more about YouthCare’s Catalyst House, please contact Debbie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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