“Taking Music & Art to the Streets” (TMATS)
Trust is the single biggest issue that prevents a homeless youth from accepting help. Establishing enough trust to have these youth comfortable to go to safe housing usually takes six to nine months. But Doors of Change, formally Photocharity’s TMATS program has helped us place youth in shelter and long-term housing in as little as four weeks!
TMATS is a weekly class at which homeless youth ages 12-24 gather in Ocean Beach for free music and art lessons, dinner, clothes, shoes, social services, and chiropractic treatments. The music program includes lessons in guitar, ukulele, keyboard, drums, violin, bass, cello, mandolin, and harmonica.
Once a month, medical evaluations and haircuts are offered. Legal services are being added soon.
When they participate in TMATS, youth are incentivized to help themselves. If they attend five two-hour classes, they earn an instrument of their choice or art supplies. When they earn these rewards, we earn their trust!
Since its inception in March 2013, more than 1,400 homeless youth have participated in TMATS, and more than 130 have earned instruments!
Our generous partner, the Episcopal Church Center, donates its facilities for the program, helping us provide a non-judgmental, loving environment, and a safe place to be. Janet Blair of Blues Lovers United helps us find music instructors on a weekly basis.
Doors of Change program for self-sufficiency
The most underserved age group in the homeless population is those aged 18-24. In San Diego alone there are more than 2,000 homeless youth in this category, many with minimal skills, and only 25 beds available for them in safe housing. Most who seek one of those beds are faced with a year-long waiting period.