24 Hr. Power, Inc., which uses graffiti art as a form of healing for those in recovery, hosted the event.
BROCKTON — A group of teenagers used graffiti to help people experiencing homelessness in the city.
They gathered Saturday at the Old Colony YMCA to decorate face masks, towels and tote bags with encouraging messages in graffiti to give to the homeless as part of Project Knapsack Brockton through the nonprofit 24 Hr. Power Inc.
“We want to break the cycle,” said Susie Lordi, president and founder of 24 Hr. Power. “It would be great to show kids in particular that you can have fun and you don’t have to get high, and we wanted to show kids that you can be cool and give back.”
For 24 Hr. Power, Inc., graffiti art is a form of healing for people recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, mental illness and trauma. Graffiti is often considered negative, but the group embraces it and shares it.
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“Graffti isn’t just for people in recovery,” Lordi said. “It’s for anyone who wants to live a healthy lifestyle and it’s also for kids who have been affected by addiction.”
More than a dozen teens worked on their graffiti and messages outside the YMCA. They used acrylics, colored pencils, markers and other art supplies to decorate the items they donated.
They filled each bag with necessities, including a face mask, toothbrush, socks and deodorant. They also included other needs, like a flashlight and can opener and a shop tile with contact information for a service the person could use.
Project Knapsack was funded by a grant from the Shannon Community Safety Initiative, a statewide initiative that aims to reduce gang and youth violence through efforts like social intervention and youth programming.
Lordi said art is a way for people to focus on positivity rather than the negative, which is good for people in recovery or at risk.
At the event, the Rev. Roberto Silveiro, director of the Homeless Improvement Project through Universal Missionary Church, thanked the teens for working on the knapsacks. He brought them back to his congregation for members to give out to people experiencing homelessness.
Silveiro helped Lordi and the attendees better understand what those who are homeless need. It’s not just personal hygiene items, but also things like flashlights, batteries and can openers, he told them.
Attendees watched Brian Life, a professional graffiti artist from Brockton, work on a piece of art during the event. He drew two hands passing an hourglass on a canvas.
Lordi said the goal is to offer the artwork to city offices and organizations to display. Other artwork made by 24 Hr. Power artists are on display around Brockton.
“We’ve brought a lot of love of art to Brockton,” she said.
Staff writer Mina Corpuz can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @mlcorpuz. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Enterprise today.