LOVE LOVE LOVE Free Arts of AZ!! After I finished my MBA in 2009 I started volunteering to give back to my community. However, it quickly turned into yet another selfish indulgence because I get so much joy out of my experiences. So fulfilling, fantastic, and rewarding to be a part of this organization! I have worked with ages 4 - 18 in group homes, locked detention facilities, interim detention homes, and homeless shelters for abused women and their children. Regardless of age, sex, ethnicity, or current life status, these children are always so happy to see us and to participate in the magic of creativity. Our time together with the children is a brief opportunity to run a gamut of merely having fun & relieving stress, to learning about art, to planting seeds for a positive future for their lives, and consequently improving our world! I praise the people who work at Free Arts. They are so kind, patient, full of grace, real, and loving. But just as important, they are savvy organizers, coordinators, and business managers. Enough gushing....I think you get the point now. Thank you :)
Free Arts does so much for the children and facilities it serves, as well as showing its volunteers respect and gratitude!
This summer will mark my first anniversary volunteering with Free Arts of Arizona and I couldn't be more blessed to be a part of their organization. Volunteering with Free Arts has been such an incredible experience. Their organization is so organized and truly has a heart for the children they serve. It is so neat to see so many people love and support these children who otherwise have nothing. In addition, Free Arts provides the means for the volunteers to be completely successful in reaching the children they serve. There are training sessions to prepare the volunteers on how to engage the children and make them feel special and unique. Free Arts also provides a project handbook and the project of the month along with all supplies needed. This way those who feel they're not that artsy do not have to stress about coming up with project ideas and the materials to go with them. In closing, last summer I volunteered at MAC Camp and I saw the lives of the children there change with just one week. Kids who started off not wanting to participate at all were full force by the end of the week. We had one boy who had hardly spoken the entire week and on our last day of spoken word he said his poem aloud in front of the entire group! In addition, I had a teenage boy who refused to participate in most of the activities, especially dance, but by the end of the week he was dancing with full confidence. We also had a young lady who had a real attitude and liked to frown during our activited, but by Tuesday or Wednesday she was smiling and being kind to the others in our group. Lastly, two of the younger boys in our group would say with such excitment "I wish MAC Camp was everyday!" Seeing the smiles on their precious faces is the most beautiful thing and Free Arts goes the distance to help create those smilies!
This is my third year as as a Professional Artist with Free Arts of Arizona teaching Social Dance.
Having worked with many organizations and non-profits I can honestly say no one serves youth better than Free Arts of Arizona. I appreciate the dedicated staff that are so highly organized and create these wonderful programs that benefit so many at-risk youth.
Every program I have been involved with has far exceeded my expectations and I am always impressed with the wonderful feedback from facility staff at how much they appreciate Free Arts programs and how greatly they see their youth benefiting from what we offer them. Countless times facility staff members have told me how a Free Arts program is the thing that helped one of their youth turn a corner and take a new positive direction in their recovery.
At a lock down facility, where social dance was offered, the staff was able to use one of the clients social dance skills to bring him out of schizophrenic episodes and stay present and focused, they are able to directly use his Free Arts experience in his recovery and therapy. That is just one of the many great accomplishments of Free Arts of Arizona!
Of all the non-profits that I have volunteered with, Free Arts is the most organized and efficiently run. At all 3 of the events that I have been involved with, I felt useful and fully engaged. Most importantly, I was able to witness firsthand the value of the program through the smiles on the faces of the children involved.
I have worked with Free Arts through Republic Media, helping Free Arts with an art supplies drive and working to recruit additional volunteers for the arts programs. The team at Free Arts has always been knowledgeable and friendly and I can see the positive impact on the children they serve. They truly are a remarkable nonprofit and continuously go above and beyond to help children who need a positive impact in their lives.
I've worked with Free Arts on a fund raising event for an art auction and an awareness event to help spread the word on Free Arts. They are a great organization and amazing to work with. I look forward to helping them in any way I can in the future as well as my mentoring session which starts today!
II have had the pleasure of working with Free Arts Arizona for the past two years and have been captivated and inspired by the impact of art on young adults and children who have been traditionally underserved. Free Arts Arizona gave me a new window to view the positive self-awareness that young people can achieve when working with skilled and caring artists. Free Arts is an incredibly well organized program that matches volunteers and artists in a way that maximizes student achievement, participation and creativity. Simply put. They are the best.
Over the last 5 years, I have been involved with children who are served by Free Arts of Arizona, and have attended many, many Free Arts functions. This is an organization that brings a powerful tool to abused children, and teaches them to use this tool for their own empowerment.
Through their mentor program, the Multicultural Arts camps, the Free Arts days, sponsored visits to theater, ballet and symphony shows, Theater Camp, and many more projects, Free Arts helps children become involved with art in ways that they can then explore and participate in. Our children see Free Arts events as wonderful treats. I have witnessed many kids, who are new to the foster care system and full of anger and hostility, enter into a Free Arts program and become transformed by the acceptance and love they feel from the volunteers, as well as by the process which turns them into successful dancers, singers, actors, painters, and poets. We had one young man who was always in trouble and explosively angry, who had the opportunity to participate in Free Arts' two-week theatre camp. His behavior changed completely! He gave an electrifying performance in the finale, and told me that the experience of the camp had changed his life. I have truthfully witnessed similar events many times with kids in Free Arts activities. As an educator, I wish that EVERY CHILD could experience Free Arts of Arizona's exceptional approach to bringing healing to kids through the arts.
I have been working at an agency that receives services through Free Arts for the past two years and I could not be happier with the services this agency provides. We have been fortunate to be the recipients of visual and performing arts programs such as Bring Back a Week, Social Dance, Tai Chi, Mural, the Art of Cooking, Spoken Word, Poetry, Junk Art, Drumming, Drawing and Photography as well as scoring spots at MAC Camp. Our students love the programs and many report to me that they have found a creative and appropriate way to express their feeling through art. Free Arts staff and artists I have worked with are organized and really love the kids. I love this agency and the work they do.