Young men at the Huron House Boys’ Home are showing off their artistic flare thanks to a new project brought forward by a Lambton College student.
Katie Horvath, who has been placed at the Bright’s Grove facility as part of the social service worker program, wanted to experiment with art – as a new way for the adolescent residents there to express themselves.
“I found that demographic is really drawn to the arts, so I am giving them a voice through art,” said Horvath, who recently co-founded Vocalize, a student-led social justice group at Lambton College.
“The theme with Vocalize is all about finding our voices and giving a voice to the voiceless, so I decided to apply that theme with kids in care.”
The Boys’ Home provides programming and a structured residential environment for adolescent boys aged 12 to 18 with complex needs.
Horvath, 28, launched ‘students4students’ a project centered on peer support through art. Already, she’s taken the young men to photojournalism assignments, taught them graffiti handstyle, and helped them create a video about mental health.
“I find that some of the boys respond better with photography, and some respond better with visual art like paint,” said Horvath. “Some of the stuff they’re revealing in their art — you wouldn’t get in a normal conversation. I get there and they want to go right to the art room, or the music room, so it’s been really positive.”
For the photojournalism project, Horvath had participants take photos with the cell phones, out in the community, in an attempt to tell their own life stories through images.
With the video, Horvath sat down individually with the young men and asked questions about mental health, its stigma, what it means to live with depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other illnesses.
“We looked further into different ways that they cope — and I found unanimously every boy in the video said they are drawn to music, to get through the stresses they have.
“I guess the goal is just self-expression,” said Horvath. “To look at yourself a little but deeper, and just to have that medium to express what’s going on in your head.
“Art is something that we all need.”