Nikki’s job is multifaceted—one she describes as very different from other jobs at Mercy Home.
“I feel like a unicorn at Mercy Home because everyone else has their department and I’m like a one-woman department,” she said.
A big part of Nikki’s job is working with the young women at Mercy Home, meeting with each of the four homes at the Walsh Campus weekly. She also does sessions in smaller groups of two to four girls, as well as individual sessions. The smaller sessions often take place when a group of girls work well together or are all interested in learning about a specific medium. The individual sessions, however, take on a bit of a different purpose.
“One is we see that that particular youth really benefits from the therapeutic dimension of art, so we create a plan that is specifically tailored to their treatment needs and we work through those via the art making process,” she explained. “Or it could be this youth really needs a time out from the trauma in their lives or their triggers and they might find comfort in just retreating to a space of art-making.”
During these therapeutic sessions, they may not talk about the specific issues, Nikki said, but use the time as a buffer for them to perhaps just feel better for a little while.
“So even if we might not be talking directly about what’s going on, they’re still benefiting from that hour and getting a reset button,” Nikki said. “And learning to feel proud of what they’re making and feel about having the ability to control a medium and create an outcome, so there’s a sense of agency in art-making even though we might say, this hour is art therapy, this hour is still therapeutic.”