On Saturday, August 21, Habitat Japan held a virtual art class for families living in a shelter for mothers and children in Kanagawa Prefecture. The home provides protection and support for families dealing with various problems, including illness, financial difficulties, and domestic violence. Because of COVID-19, all in-person activities have been suspended as a virus mitigation measure, which has limited recreational options at the facility. With Bloomberg’s support, however, we were able to provide an entertaining event for residents despite social distancing requirements.
The class was taught by three Bloomberg volunteers and led by Naomi from Artbar Tokyo. The company has worked with the organization to provide art classes to the children of employees during the pandemic. This led to Habitat and Bloomberg creating such an option for residents of the shelter, most of whom have had to refrain from going out despite the summer holiday. The class gave mothers and their children an activity that could provide some fun and relaxation during a difficult time in their lives.
22 mothers and children joined the class, which was a great success. It was not only a fun diversion, but it allowed participants an opportunity to engage in ways that they may not have been accustomed to. The children, who ranged in age from preschoolers to high school students, really enjoyed the activity. "This is fun!” exclaimed a girl with a big smile on her face. Other children were heard to say "I loved this," and "I don't know why, but it's fun.” One high school student said, "I don't get to communicate in English at school very often. I don't really draw much, but I decided to join the class." Additionally, the mother of a younger child explained, "I joined the class because I thought I would see a different side of my child.”
Naomi, who taught the one-hour class in English, asked participants to draw an ocean using the acrylic paints, brushes, and canvases that Bloomberg donated. While the older children drew theirs with step-by-step guidance, the younger children, who were excited by the paints and canvas (items that they rarely had opportunities to use), freely drew the ocean they imagined.
It was a day full of smiles for everyone. Thank you to all the families who attended, to the staff, and to Bloomberg for their support of the art class and facility repairs. With Bloomberg’s continued support, Habitat will conduct repairs in the children's club, an improvement that will have a large impact for a long time to come.