With COVID-19 temporarily sidelining many of our guests’ attempts for housing, employment and generally moving forward, Cherry Street Mission has been challenged to find ways to help guests continue making progress. recreational activities – such as board games, cornhole, football, kickball and rides to the park – at first glance can be easily dismissed as unimportant.

Here are some benefits:

  1. Learning Cooperation – Cooperating and following rules are helpful transferrable skills.
  1. Social benefits – Social skills are a key element to functioning well in the community.
  1. Reversing self-isolating behavior – Drawing someone with a dysfunctional mindset out with others can expand a person’s world view.
  1. Relational benefits – Conversations lead to relationships. This is what our guests usually lack.
  1. Mental health supports – Mental illness can be so isolating; games can create a positive experience.
  1. Community – Creating a sense of community is a step-up from relationships; it’s a sense of belonging. One guest stated after a game, “I felt like I was sixteen again and not homeless.”
  1. Fitting in – How many of our guests have a low self-esteem as a result of failures, self-inflicted or otherwise? Feeling like you fit is something we all crave.
  1. Safe Involvement – Many guests need to feel safe. There is something very disarming about games, reminding us of simpler times.
  1. Behavioral – When the stakes are small, dealing with difficult emotions (anger or frustrations) can put another notch in their EQ tool belt to better handle things in the future.
  1. Challenging the inner psyche – Past failures or traumatic experiences can create a toxic inner narrative. A fun activity challenges that inner narrative with a cheer or a compliment that can create a crevice that allows a little light in.