Recently, the mothers housed at Hearth Homes embarked on metaphorical journey to express their powerful stories through art. The outcome was greater than any could have imagined.
"Vulnerability is...about having the courage to show up and be seen." Brene Brown
When Suzanne, an art professor at Gonzaga University, came to Hearth Homes as a representative of Parnters Through Art, she was brimming with excitement to work with the ladies to create a mural that would give them a voice. The first night she met the ladies was a firehose of reality. "I realized that I was coming from a place of total privilege!" Suzanne quickly sensed the chasm between the metaphorical world of art and the very literal world of the women we serve who were previously homeless and desperate to provide for their children.
It's not difficult to imagine: When you're trying to figure out how to feed your family and care for your children's needs on $40 a month, it's a bit of a stretch to find relevance in portraying your struggle in a metaphorical piece of art. However, the ladies at Hearth Homes show exceptional resilience in the face of a challenge and they did the most courageous and vulnerable thing: They showed up and gave it their best.
As difficult as it was, the ladies opened up to Suzanne. Baring their guilt-laden past, determined not to dwell there, they exposed the shame they wrestle each day to be free of: Addiction, Abuse, Dependency and Trauma. This courageous act of opening up to someone living a life diametrically different from their own, led the ladies of Hearth Homes and Suzanne on an awesome journey that resulted in an epic mural painting.
On the evening of August 12th, the Hearth Homes property was flooded by community members: Mayor Dean Grafos and nearly all of City Council, past and present volunteers, leaders from United Methodist Church, Spokane Valley Kiwanis, Gethsemane Lutheran, Spokane Valley Church of the Nazarene, Advent Lutheran, and so many more. All gathered to honor the incredible women we house and their touching work of art.
As each person entered the gate, they gripped a paint brush and made their mark on the mural: a blade of grass or, for past residents, a representation of their transformation (a family, diploma, star, happy face etc.). After everyone had their fill of dinner and socializing, they gathered around for the main event: Ladies of Hearth Homes sharing the powerful meaning behind the mural. Every set of eyes was glued to these ladies as each took the microphone and boldly offered a piece of themselves and their journey.
Despite coming from a place of brokenness, shame and regret, ladies at Hearth Homes choose each day to rise above and declare "that's not who I am" and redefine themselves---its nothing short of a miracle!
We are so thankful for a community that recognizes this miracle and received each woman's story with immense respect, gratitude and awe. As one of our residents, Gloria, shared with all attending, "none of this would be here if it weren't for you." She's absolutely right. We are so fortunate to be surrounded by a community that cares and waters the roots of Hearth Homes to provide homeless women and their children the opportunity for transformation.
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