Saera, Creative Arts Coordinator and Art Therapist:
I joined BRC as Creative Arts Coordinator/Art Therapist in 2008. It has been a life changing experience that I continue to learn from, thanks to the remarkable, skilled, devoted colleagues I have worked with over the years and the resilient, creative, courageous men and women who reside at BRC's Reception Center, as they work towards transforming their lives and finding permanent housing. It is with a full heart that I express what an honor it is to be a part of BRC.
One of the sources of strength and inspiration for my work here is my daily interaction with Clients in our Art Therapy Groups. There are moments of wonderful harmony and a collective sense of purpose in these groups that occur when each person is deeply engaged in their creative project.
A transformative moment I have had the privilege of witnessing many times is when a reticent, guarded Client connects with the power of their unique creative voice, the moment they open up and listen to that part of themselves, sometimes for the first time in their lives, engaging with their creative expression and through this communing with the others in the group in a real, profound way.
In this moment, they are free, if temporarily, from their day to day struggles, and experience the excitement, vitality, curiosity, richness, beauty, as well as the serenity and new perspective that making art in a therapeutic way can facilitate. Such moments can be deeply meaningful, and they can change a person.
There have been many unforgettable moments in my work at BRC over the years. I recall a Resident who discovered a love of Abstract Expressionism in the Art Therapy Group and found a voice in that movement that resonated deeply within him. He began to paint daily and educated himself on artists he admired, visiting Art Museums and cultivating knowledge in his newfound interest. He connected with a joy and passion in his life that had been missing, and felt alive in a way he had forgotten he was capable of. The suffering he had endured in his life had wounded him deeply, but he was revitalized and empowered through the force of his own creativity and its life-enhancing energy. The beauty of this internally generated experience that he found and developed within himself is but one of many that the Residents at BRC have revealed to me.
I was once told of the importance of cultivating courage in the face of adversity, of the necessity of living with compassion and understanding. In the years I have worked at BRC, I have regularly seen these sentiments embodied and manifested by Staff and Clients alike.