The seacan storage unit at Ehrlo Sport Venture will soon have a super twist.
Participants from several Ranch programs, both youth, and participants in the programs for persons with developmental disabilities, have lent a hand on the ongoing project, a Marvel comics mural.
Dustin Ritter, who works part-time at the art-based therapy program that works out of Sport Venture and part time as a vocational program job coach at the agency, took the lead on the project. This isn’t the first time Dustin has brought his passion for the arts to his work in the agency. The walls at the Alternative Vocational Education Program boast several life-sized murals already. Like the seacan project, Dustin drew the outlines and the clients helped with the painting.
“I’ll kind of go in and start the mural and then I can sometimes get different clients to kind of outline it for me, and then we kind of start doing it like a giant paint by numbers,” Dustin explained.
The project was started a few weeks ago and has already had participants from several programs work on it.
Dustin likes doing projects like this because of its accessibility.
“It's something that pretty much every client can do a part of,” he explained. “Everyone participates at their own level … and even if you just paint a small yellow square – cool, you’ve helped.”
For his part, Dustin tries to give some direction but largely leaves the clients to their own devices creatively.
“With paint, it’s nice because you can always paint over top. So, if we have to do lots of layers, if there is anything that doesn’t really fit the theme of the work, we can kind of paint over that and just make it work for everybody,” he explained.
“I feel like it’s a very good example of how CARE can work. We’re meeting the participants at their skill level,” he added, noting that the relationships he’s built with clients during his time in the agency help him to gauge their interest and skill level, as well.
Dustin chose the Marvel superheroes theme for the project because it appeals to the majority of participants.
“It’s been really fun. It really makes me more excited to go to work. It’s nice to see progress every day.”
Ranch Ehrlo is guided by the CARE model, Children And Residential Experiences: Creating Conditions for Change, which is a multi-level program aimed at improving services for children, youth, and adults in care.