February is Therapeutic Recreation Month.
Resilient Rec YQL is a program spearheaded by Tannis Chartier to provide meaningful opportunities for unhoused people to enjoy recreational activities. Chartier saw a huge need for the program, after volunteering at the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen.
“We were filling the physical needs of the people — giving them some shelter and food. But we weren’t giving them meaning and purpose and we weren’t giving them an opportunity to move up and fill their needs to socialize,” says Chartier, a third-year University of Lethbridge student in the Therapeutic Recreation program.
“We wanted them to feel comfortable and at home in an environment where they feel safe to have fun,” adds Chartier. “People need to feel like someone cares about them and that they have a name and are not just someone in the line at the Soup Kitchen.”
After the creation of Resilient Art YQL, a successful art-based program at first, Chartier thought more people might attend if the activities had broader appeal. “We started running things like bingo nights, movie nights, karaoke nights — all sorts of fun events. Recreation is absolutely for everyone, but art might not be everyone’s forte.”
For 2024, Chartier would like to see the number of participants grow. An arcade night is planned for this Sunday. The Resilient Rec YQL program operates out of the Soup Kitchen.