Help Heal Veterans offers arts & crafts sessions three times a week to help community members occupy their time and help heal through different means.
They distribute therapy arts & craft kits to veterans across the country and have been doing it since 1971.
Heather Ritchie, a Craft Care Specialist and local representative for the Help Heal Veterans program, receives the hand-made kits from the headquarters in Winchester, California and brings them to veterans within the Clovis community.
“They send me the products and I find locations where I can distribute them to veterans in the Clovis area,” Ritchie said. “I bring a bunch of bins of arts & crafts and the veterans come and they can check them out. They can take them home and work on it, or take them and work on it here.”
There are three different sessions for Clovis veterans to attend on a weekly basis.
“We offer help in completing the kits. I am there and I have volunteers that help out as well. If they need any help at all, we are always here to help,” Ritchie said.
On Mondays from 10 a.m. to noon at the Clovis Veterans Memorial Building (808 4thStreet, Clovis, CA 93612), on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at American Legion Post 509 (35o9 N. First St., Fresno, CA 97726) and the final session is held on Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the same location as Wednesday’s session.
Classes are year round and offer veterans a chance to occupy their time with fun and exciting arts & crafts.
“I think veterans like doing them because it keeps their minds active and their hands busy. A lot of them come to my group for the camaraderie with other veterans and they like to talk with each other when they work on these kits,” Ritchie said. “I think it’s therapeutic. For veterans who have PTSD or anything affecting them, it keeps them active and engaged in something fun and the satisfaction of completing something.”
Ritchie offers a wide variety of kits, from beginner to more advanced and from leather working to metal or woodworking.
“One of the more popular kits is a wood kit that is called the lock and load pen, which is a ball-point pen kit and the middle of it is wood. They have to sand it, finish it off and then assemble the other parts, which are metal. The tip of it looks like a bullet and it has a little rifle clip on it and it has a little mechanism that extends the pen out and it retracts.”
In terms of leather, there is a messenger bag kit and many more. Ritchie offers many different, unique and fun crafts for all interests.