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Labor and Economic Opportunity

Outstanding Volunteer Program - Shelter Association of Washtenaw County

ArtBreak Studio

The Shelter Association of Washtenaw County’s volunteers are at the heart of everything they do and are an essential part of the association’s mission of “ending homelessness one person at a time.” Volunteers provide compassionate and dignified support for their clients, making a real difference in each person's life. Their amazing team of volunteers provide over 14,000 hours of service every year. Art Break Studio, a new initiative, kicked off two years ago as volunteers visit the shelter and have made a lasting impact on those involved through creativity. During art classes, volunteers encourage self-awareness, expression and help to reduce anxiety in the participants while building self-esteem. In addition, the group created a mural for the lobby of the Robert J Delonis homeless shelter to raise awareness in the community while also brightening up the space. Volunteers help to develop social skills and promote multiculturalism and critical reflection. The art studio has become a supportive, safe, and welcoming space where once-a-week art instruction and the freedom to create is paramount.