This product helps guests in that it is an individual outlet, a group conversation, a way to brighten a space, and a valuable collection of memories to keep past the graduation of the shelter. At the core, it is a book full of pages which ask “what happened today?” What makes this different from a normal book is that the pages can be removed from the book and just as easily put back in. The pages are also hexagonal, which allow the pages to become an interesting two-dimensional composition on a wall, whether that be in the bedrooms or in a communal space, making the individual responses part of the collective conversation. It is a very simple object that can be used in many ways. By giving guests a creative outlet to preserve their memories and experiences, the physical reality of the shelter environment fades into the background yet simultaneously can become part of the use of the object. The underlying idea in this design is one of temporality in that the shelter experience is just one step of many in the guests’ lives. The product can be utilized by both mothers and children - being a strong opportunity to express their emotions, a way to increase literacy, and a way to bring groups together in a productive way.
This product in one way or another supports almost all of the six key principles of a trauma-informed approach.
Safety: By promoting the widespread use of the product through the shelter, guests can feel psychologically safer with their peers in that they are recording their experiences, emotions, worries and triumphs in the same medium. This promotes an open forum of discussion on the daily happenings of the guests.
Peer Support: Much like how the group experience of using the product promotes safety, the group organization of the product promotes peer support. By having the pages in a hexagonal shape, pages can be easily collaboratively grouped together by the guests in either a therapy or non-therapy setting. The pages can be grouped in any number of ways including similar experiences, color of the page, age of the guest and any other conceivable way. These groupings promote the interaction of the guests, whether that be in sharing the stories they wrote on the pages or just that their pages happen to be the same color for that day.
Collaboration and Mutuality: The use of the product mutually between the guests and the staff encourages discussions between the two, allowing the guests to see the staff on the same level as their selves emotionally and socially.
Empowerment, Voice and Change: Besides just using the product to document emotions, it can also be used to document issues guests have with the space or with their experience in the shelter, giving them a voice which can be displayed as part of a collaborative composition. When the pages are no longer on the wall, they become part of a book which the guest can take with them upon graduating as an archive of their experience through the shelter.
This product is original.
By giving guests the ability to individually reflect on their days, and giving these reflections the opportunity to become part of a larger group dialogue it promotes the group environment of the shelter. Everyone, guests and staff included, can have a stronger voice while being part of a larger group. The ability of the pages to be composed on a wall allows the creation of the composition to be a group effort, bringing guests of all ages and backgrounds together to collaborate. The possibility of what these pages can do is nearly endless. They can be used as a therapy tool, for crafts, drawings, photos, notes, decoration and so many other things that have yet to be thought of.
When the guests graduate from the shelter, their pages will go into the included binding and become a book documenting their stories through the shelter experience. This artifact of their experience promotes resilience beyond the shelter environment, giving the former guests reminders that they are moving forward.
Before this product can be implemented, it will need a manufacturing process to be set. This could be as simple as an online book-making service, or something much more complicated. From this manufacturing process, the design would most likely need to be slightly changed to take advantage of and conform to the requirements of the process.
Do the production costs decrease as the number of units produced increases?:
Space and Staffing Required:
There is no space or staffing required for this product, although having the staff mutually involved in the creation of the larger dialogue created by this product would be beneficial.
Does your product require training of shelter staff to use appropriately?:
For this product to be most effective, it would need to be promoted by the staff. Although there is no single use of the product, the staff could create an environment with the product which is conducive to finding the limits of the possibilities. Beyond that, the product could be very effective in a therapy setting, similar to a journal (but more group-oriented), but the use in that setting would be up to the therapist.
Once a manufacturing process is made for this product, it will be as simple as a mouse click on the computer to order more. In the future it will need more funding, although because of the low cost of the product the initial funding could provide this product for upwards of 2-3 years.
This product would be well-suited for many shelter environments, as well as any educational environment. The use of it could be very much the same or very different from situation to situation, which is one of the wonderful things about this product. The possibilities of it are so vast, that it could fit itself into most any environment.
The impact of this product could be measured by the participation of the guests in the use of the product. Ideally there would be a 100% participation rate among the guests, which sets a metric to work off of for the future progression of the product. As well as participation, the success can be measured in psychological progress and resilience practices.