With the weather finally warming up, the children living in the 10 apartments on our Transitional Housing campus can’t wait to get outside whenever possible. The challenge is finding safe and healthy age-appropriate outdoor activities.
Why the challenge?
Because “transitional housing” means families are constantly moving in and out as they transition from homelessness to new, stable lives. (Maximum stay = 18 months. Average stay in 2018 = 7.5 months. Shortest. Average. Stay. Ever.) As a result, the ages of the children vary month to month.
Just a few short months ago, our playroom was filled with young infants and toddlers, looking for cuddles and light play time. But right now, we are serving a large group of boys between the ages of six and twelve years old. With that age comes a high level of energy and enthusiasm, which we love to see, but it’s an effort to find activities to channel that energy into productive play.
Space is also an issue. Our playroom quickly becomes very busy with so many boys bursting with so much youthful excitement. For that reason, our staff was thrilled when Tiffany Neal, our NJHCN coach, recommended the CATCH curriculum.
The CATCH curriculum is a research-based, time-tested program of physical activities and nutrition education for elementary and middle school-aged children. The easy-to-use format provides our staff with hundreds of activity ideas that can be adapted to any space.
Now our staff can select an activity that goes perfectly with the number of children, their age, and the space available on any particular day. The program helps ensure that even our most rambunctious children can play in a safe yet organized and healthy manner. We are looking forward to a summer full of fun-filled activities for all of our children!
Homeless Solutions’ Healthy Children Initiative is supported by funding from Atlantic Health System, as part of the New Jersey Healthy Communities Network.
About the Grantee
Our mission is “to offer shelter, social services and supportive housing to homeless and low-income people.” We make that an everyday reality through a strategically-designed construct of 3 housing options -- Emergency Shelter (short term), Transitional Housing (intermediate), and Affordable Housing (long term) – that linked with supportive services, help move people to better, healthier lives.