Fred Shayo-Mushi has an incredible job: he teaches kids to play and laugh again.
Fred co-facilitates the Children’s Group at Interval House. In deliberate and subtle ways, Fred uses play-based counselling with the children living here with their moms. His creative approach helps them express what they’ve experienced and what brought them to Interval House.
Fred is a fun-loving support for these kids. His sense of humour and ease make them feel safe and free to have fun.
“Through the activities, through play and interactions, you start to see a little bit of the kid coming out,” Fred says.
Fred also models positive relationships between differently gendered people, something many of the kids at Interval House have little experience with. He does this by working cooperatively with his co-facilitator in groups and by demonstrating respectful interactions with the mothers of the kids he works with. He also helps kids practice empathy by helping them care for the pet fish in the Children’s Program room.
Fred takes the children on all kinds of adventures. They explore local parks and trails, visit zoos and farms, and in the winter they go skating. “I’m not a good skater,” Fred admits, “so I provide a lot of humour.”
On the weekends, the mothers join the fun. Fred helps them build confidence and re-establish their relationships with their children. He helps them feel self-assured in their new lives. “Often it is the simplest thing, like how to use the subway system. It’s about giving people freedom to explore and spend quality time outside together.”
Fred is an invaluable support for children and their mothers as they transform their lives and break the cycle of violence.