Mara Truslow *
London, England - Baron
Under the ethos of “fancy a chat,” New Horizon Youth Center in Central London works with a holistic approach to servicing homeless or at risk youth, engaging them in programs from financial literacy to acting and yoga. Baron’s Court Project works with individuals who suffer from mental health problems and are therefore incredibly susceptible to homelessness by assisting service users with day-to-day struggles they encounter when facing society and the bureaucratic challenges in the government. The organization achieves these aims through a holistic approach to service, which includes drama, writing, and swimming lessons. During my two months at these organizations, I worked to create and incorporate creative writing classes at both organizations with fellow Ingram Scholar Hanna Chapman. The classes served as an incredible conduit to build relationships with service users and act as an alternative therapy, However, the greatest challenge was the fundamental lack of reading and writing skills on part of the service users at both organizations, which meant that the writing programs had to be tailored to become collaborative activities amongst service users.
For more stories and pictures, please visit: http://www.maraandhannainlondon.webs.com/.