A Typical Day for a Casa Youth Shelter Resident
In an unassuming house on a quiet, residential street in Los Alamitos, the staff and residents at Casa Youth Shelter start their day together. Over a warm breakfast, everyone discusses the day’s plans and after tending to morning chores, residents and Youth Supervisors review and strategize together in a Daily Goal Setting Group. Mornings lead into early afternoon with snacks, tutoring, reading and creativity (like art therapy or music classes).
Lunchtime is lively at Casa Youth Shelter. Staff and/or volunteers cook up plenty of food so that everyone on site can eat together. In our home’s dining room there are tables enough to accommodate all of our residents, staff members and even our administrative team. Lunch is a time for community and conversation – from “What music are you listening to these days?” to “Can you believe that game last night?” to “Have you heard the latest news…”.
After lunch is cleaned up, residents enjoy recreational time outside on the sports court or by the meditation foundation. We’re lucky to have so many sunny afternoons in Southern California. Often, tutoring and homework takes place outside as well. Our indoor group therapy rooms are also in use in the afternoons when residents and counselors meet.
Late afternoon downtime is an important part of the day. It allows residents to pause, process and recharge – whether they are in the recreation room library, playing games, or relaxing in their rooms. Often at this time of day, residents engage in private, individual counseling.
Dinner meals are like family time. The inviting smell of home cooked meals drifts through the house, inviting everyone to the dining room. Residents and staff chat about the day and plan evening activities. No one leaves the table until everyone has finished; it’s a time to slow down and stay engaged.
After dinner activities range from family counseling sessions to air hockey in the recreation room. Sometimes it’s movie night; other times you’ll find a board game tournament in full swing.
Every part of our day at Casa Youth Shelter is intentionally structured to create a supportive community where residents know what to expect and what is expected of them. Staff and volunteers are trained in Trauma Informed Care, which allows them to provide residents with compassion, guidance, and reassurance throughout the day.