Youth find Passion and Pathways through Art

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An art display.

Dave Beaman couldn’t ignore a call for volunteers to help with youth experiencing homelessness when it was presented at Nativity Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. “We needed a passionate volunteer to work with youth experiencing homelessness, and we certainly found one in Dave,” said Jen Fairbourne, program director for LSS Metro Homeless Youth Services.

Beaman, a retired high school art teacher, developed an art curriculum combining lessons in watercolor and writing techniques for youth in safe shelters supported by LSS. Influenced by their new mentor’s engaging presence, young people began expressing themselves through their art. For many youth, this was the first time they had ever painted and shared their stories.

“My own personal life experiences have taught me the importance of a positive and creative outlet for trauma, stress and difficult times in your life,” Beaman said, adding that he’s pleased by how much art has added to LSS’ transformational work with youth. “I am proud to share my passion for art with kids who need it most.”

His mentoring experience inspired Beaman to do more. He professionally framed several art pieces created by youth and displayed them at fundraising events to help support youth who experience homelessness.

What’s more, after learning of Nativity Lutheran’s special grants program, Beaman took his efforts to the next level. In partnership with LSS Metro Homeless Youth Services, he wrote and secured a grant of $3,600 to purchase art supplies. The money, awarded by the Palmer Hermundslie Foundation, also helped to implement an arts education program for youth experiencing homelessness in the Twin Cities.

“We cannot do our work without the help and support of amazing volunteers like Dave,” Fairbourne said. “He has creatively imagined new ways to connect with youth and helped them discover new talents and goals for themselves.”

LSS helps keep youth and children safe and supports their healthy development by providing early intervention and prevention services, supportive shelters and housing options for youth experiencing homelessness.