Activities enrich the lives of Christ House patients
“For it’s one, two, three strikes you’re out, at the old… ball… game…,” Christ House patients swayed as they sang at the Potomac Nationals baseball game this past August. Just a few sunny and carefree hours enjoying America’s favorite pastime brought lighthearted grins to weary faces.
From baseball games to pumpkin carving, our activities program is one of the supportive services that makes the Christ House health care model holistic.
Some of our regular activities include:
- Trips to the local library
- Walks around the neighborhood and to nearby parks
- Movie nights and Nintendo Wii bowling competitions
Even the most routine of these activities can be a meaningful experience. Often times, patients get their very first library card while they are with us. Such milestones are out of reach for someone who does not have proper identification, a common challenge for those experiencing homelessness.
In addition to ongoing activities, we like to organize special events that will entertain and inspire. Open mic night, Christmas card making, and visits from traveling choirs are a few yearly favorite activities.
Some of our patients who grew up in D.C. have never visited its most well-known attractions and the exposure to new places and experiences can be life-giving. We arrange trips outside of our neighborhood, thanks to donated tickets and free area attractions. A few of our trips this year include:
- Professional football and college basketball games
- Performances at the Kennedy Center
- Visits to Smithsonian museums
- A local farm fall festival
Patient activities work in tandem with the medical care, case management, and other support services at Christ House to heal mind, body, and spirit. They provide opportunities for patients to:
Relax and enjoy the present. Activities provide an opportunity to set aside anxiety about the future and find joy in the present moment. Something as simple as a game of cards with friends is a luxury that someone living on the streets rarely gets to enjoy. These experiences can be restorative. On any given day, you’ll hear loud laughter radiating from the Christ House living room where many of our in-house activities take place.
Build community and confidence. Many of our patients experienced a profound isolation while homeless. Those who are most withdrawn can find it difficult to re-engage. A walk around the block or a game of bingo provides a way for some patients to regain the confidence to interact with those around them. Building relationships, and thereby building community, helps to make Christ House a healing space.
Discover new interests. It is crucial for patients who are recovering from addiction to develop new, healthy interests and hobbies. After years of being controlled by addiction, embracing life-giving activities is a major step in sustaining a sober life.
Marisa, a year-long volunteer, coordinates patient activities and often accompanies the men on these trips. She reflected on one of the best experiences so far:
We went to a Sokolow dance show and were enthralled by the music, choreography, and costumes. It was the first time that many of the men had been to a live performance of any kind and getting to share that with them was amazing.”
We are thankful for the financial support and generous ticket donations that make these experiences possible. We look forward to sharing snapshots of many more life-giving and life-changing adventures with you in the days ahead.
The above article is from our summer newsletter.
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