Rachel Arvelo selected a pottery piece shaped into the word ‘LOVE’ during her visit to Craft Haus Tuesday morning, painting it in several shades of pink.
“I’m going to give it to Dana, my best friend,” she said.
Chris Wilson also planned to give his creation — a skull painted green and red — to somebody special.
His project, selected because he likes bones, will go to Janet, his foster mom.
Arvelo, 24, and Wilson, 23, were among nine young adults who visited Craft Haus — an interactive art studio at Downtown at the Gardens — as part of the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County’s Guardian Advocacy Project.
The program, which is funded by the county, cares for people who have developmental disabilities but no longer qualify for foster care.
Nineteen young adults age 18 to their early 30s currently are in the program, longtime Legal Aid Society executive director Bob Bertisch said.
Most live in a group home, while others share an apartment together. A few work, some on a part-time basis and others full time.
“We ensure that they have a good quality of life, that their finances are watched over,” Bertisch said.
Tuesday’s outing to Craft Haus, which was followed by a carousel ride and lunch at nearby Paris in Town Le Bistro, was the fourth sponsored by GL Homes this year.
A longtime supporter of Legal Aid Society, GL Homes also took young adults bowling, on a shopping trip to Stein Mart in North Palm Beach, and to the Silverball Museum in Delray Beach.
The trips are designed to foster independence and improve social skills, said Sarah Alsofrom, GL Homes’ director of community relations.
“We try to find some activity where there may be some sort of decision-making process we need to incorporate,” Alsofrom said.
That process was included in Tuesday’s arts-and-crafts outing.
Each participant was given $50 to spend on a piece of pottery, and had to stay within that budget.
“They had to make a decision on what item to select,” Alsofrom said. “If it was over $50, no.”
For Wilson, Arvelo and 26-year-old Jemel Belgrave, Tuesday’s outing to Craft Haus was their first.
“I’ve never been here before,” said Belgrave, who selected a dish and painted it yellow, blue and grey. “It’s a good place.”
Alsofrom and Bertisch said they will plan similar outings throughout the year for the Guardian Advocacy Project group.
It’s important for the young adults, Bertisch said, to actively participate in an activity rather than stay home and watch TV.
“A huge part of our work is getting them out in the community, getting them to acclimate themselves out in the community and understand safety,” said Jessica Kelson, a Legal Aid Society case manager. “Everything is kind of a learning experience for them.”
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