A Typical Day for a Casa Youth Shelter Resident
Mornings at Casa Youth Shelter begin at 6:30am. We wake up, get dressed, and have breakfast together followed by morning chores. Next is the Breakfast Club, where we talk about our counseling sessions, fears and hopes for going back home, and share struggles we are facing in making the changes to become more assertive and prepared for life outside of Casa Youth Shelter. We set personal goals for the day and head back downstairs. Mornings continue with snacks, recreation time on the Sports Court, and time spent with volunteers who read to us, teach us how to sew or take us to the park.
Each day at noon we sit down together for lunch. No one gets up until everyone is finished; we talk about our day and what is next. In the afternoons we have 2-3 group sessions in art therapy, anger management, healthy relationships, self- esteem, and substance use. Each group provides time to share and learn skills that will prepare us for the situations that lie ahead with peers, parents, and our own personal struggles. Some days we have S.O.A.R. (Student Opportunities for Academic Responsibility), where we learn technical skills and how to write a resume.
At 6:00 pm it’s dinner time, where we sit down to eat a home-cooked meal together. We talk about the events of the day and enjoy each other’s company. Throughout the day, we get “Caught Ya” dollars when they catch us being friendly or helpful. We spend them in the prize room or save them up to buy some gifts for our little brothers and sisters at home.
After dinner there are family counseling sessions, but we also get to play a board game, some foosball in the Rec Room, or shoot some hoops on the basketball court. Some nights we receive a pass to spend time with our family where we can enjoy dinner together or spend the night at home to practice what we’ve been working on as a family. One last snack and then it’s bedtime at 9:30 and lights are out at 10:00 pm.
Our day at Casa Youth Shelter is structured – we know what to expect and look forward to when our favorite youth supervisors and counselors come in to say hello and ask about our day. As we prepare to return home, it’s this same structure and sense of community that we wish to incorporate into our daily lives.