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Checking in with the Emotional Wellness Peer Support Group

By Cleopatra Myers and Sharon Anderson
Emotional Wellness Peer Support Group Co-Facilitators

We typically see people come through The Stop’s doors to use our food services. Here, they can enjoy a healthy breakfast or lunch, shop for produce at the Good Food Market, or access a hamper in our Food Bank.

But over time, these members start to notice us making announcements about our programs and volunteer opportunities, and we’ll often strike up a conversation. Sometimes all it takes is a friendly “Hello!” or “How was your breakfast?” to encourage a meaningful connection.

As facilitators, we get first–hand experience of the impact that The Stop’s Emotional Wellness program produces. Members often tell us that our services have inspired them to become more engaged and active leaders in the community.

Once those members turn into participants in our programs, seeds become planted, and they transition from being service users to active community members. We are pleased to share two stories of members that have benefited from our programs.

Laura would often participate in our Pop-up Craft Café and became interested in volunteering at The Stop. Upon completing the volunteer session, Laura has become the Emotional Wellness Peer Support Group program’s very first volunteer! Laura is a shining example of a member that continues to develop new skills and serve the community. We are so fortunate to have her.

Lev is another member that has achieved personal success at The Stop through our Emotional Wellness Peer Support program. When he initially came to The Stop, it was for access to the Good Food Market and Food Bank. Quickly, Lev became a regular at our Pop-Up Craft Café and participated in many of the art activities. He became particularly inspired by one of our art sessions on Pointillism and decided to create his pieces at home.

Last month, Lev headlined his first contemporary art show at a gallery in the city. In his artist statement, he credits the Emotional Wellness Pop–Up Craft Café for the support. In his show, he had a total of 34 art pieces and successfully sold four! Lev will also be part of the upcoming Nuit Blanche show on October 5th and another show in December. Lev plans to display his art at Lourdes Coffee Shop (across the street from The Stop) in the New Year!

These two stories illustrate some of the varied paths that members take as they move through The Stop’s services and programs.

Summer updates from Emotional Wellness:

The warm weather graciously allowed us to bring our Pop-Up Craft Café outdoors. Members enjoyed summerlicious fruity drinks and participated in a variety of art activities such as the D.I.Y. hand-painted glass coffee mugs, paper plate ice cream, and personalized bookmark making.

Our Peer Support Group continued to engage members in Simple Chair Yoga and Mindfulness Meditation. We stretched our bodies, relieved tender muscles and released positive energy into our space for all to share!

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