Steve spent his childhood being placed in over a dozen different foster homes. He was angry and volatile, which led to multiple suspensions from school and run-ins with the law. After participating in the Crossing Bridges Outreach art program through the Kamloops Art Council his demeanor changed and he now exemplifies happiness.

United Way’s investment in the Crossing Bridges Outreach program has made a difference in the lives of more than 50 children, youth and adults in our community. By supporting this program, individuals of all ages have been given the opportunity to explore and express their creativity through artwork.

Participants and employed local artists work together to help recover self-esteem, self-expression, and improve mental and emotional health.  The participants overcome their fears during one-on-one workshops where they paint, draw, collage, and woodwork.

One project for children who have witnessed abuse or trauma involved hollowing out old books, giving them a secret compartment to store things. One of the children said, “This is like building our new safe place where we can belong.”

Since April 2013 the Crossing Bridges Outreach program has worked with individuals from multiple organizations in Kamloops and participants have been featured at Art in the Park and as musical performers at other events.

One woman said, “Tell them to keep this art going. It’s what every woman and child needs after what we’ve survived. It helps keep hope alive.”