STOCKTON (CBS13) — There are a number of shelters helping homeless men, women and children survive the streets, but a new organization in Stockton is offering more than just food, clothing and a place to sleep.
Every week, a small group gathers to learn new skills and promote creativity. Never in a million years, did Walter Lee Watson think he would be having so much fun in his 60s.
“My idea is to never let negativity overcome you in life,” said Watson.
Watson has lived in the streets for most of his life and despite all the negative, he tries to stay positive no matter the situation, and that’s just one of things he’s learned from the Uplift All Foundation.
“I thought it was just about meals and helping the homeless, but it was way more than that,” said Watson.
The foundation creates an outlet for those going through difficult times.
“They love it, they say a lot of times, today was the first time I smiled,” said Chinu Mehdi, co-founder, Uplift All Foundation.
It offers free one-hour classes that help the homeless learn new skills in the areas of art, music and dance.
“It was to get them motivated, get them involved and bring them back to society and we felt that they were not just homeless, they had lost their homes, they had lost their connection between people,” said Mehdi.
The program is held at St. Mary’s Dining Room in Stockton in a warm, nurturing environment where leaders say participants get to express their creativity.
“It gives me a rejuvenated feeling, a refreshing feeling, you know. It makes me feel good, and younger,” said Chris Greaney of Stockton.
Each instructor is a volunteer from the community who are excited to share their skills and talent. They hope it helps motivate and inspire those less fortunate.
“We really have a connection with them, when we walk in their little faces light up, and they give us such a warm and excited smile,” said Sharon Benninger, co-founder of Uplift All Foundation.
The Uplift All Foundation is always looking for volunteers. They are also actively recruiting people to become mentors.