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January 21, 2011

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January 21, 2011

Having been on the founding board of Free Arts for Abused Children, FAAC, in 1977, and currently President Emeritus, I am in a unique position to proudly comment on the enormous success we have experienced and continue to experience for 34 years.

The number of children we have reached with
our programs during these 34 years and the hundreds of volunteers we have trained and placed in residential care facilities are amazing and heartwarming and successful beyond our dreams.

Our executive director and dedicated staff are superb. As a registered Art Therapist, I have participated in training our volunteers and establishing FAAC affiliates nationally in Phoenix, New York, and Minneapolis who follow our programs but have their own 501(c)(3).

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

its growth

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

continue to make greater use of the professional expertise that is available to us, particularly as it relates to program development and growth

January 11, 2011

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January 11, 2011

I became a Board member of Free Arts for Abused Children in 2004 and moved up to President in 2006. In the 7 years I have been involved, I have seen this organization grow both in terms of financial health and program expansion. This organization moves me so much because we provide children with the opportunity to express themselves without having to "talk". These kids have to talk to therapists, judges, counselors, lawyers, social workers. Providing art gives them a safe place to be themselves, express their feelings, and dream.

Most of these children truly have no advocates because their parents cannot or are not able to provide a safe environment for them. Being a mother myself, it saddens me on a deep level to think that these children cannot depend on their parents. So I believe that Free Arts can provide comfort and hope to their lives.

Lastly, I love the volunteer aspect of this organization. With over 550 screened and trained volunteers each year, we service more than just the abused children -- we provide a community service for better understanding in our society.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The numbers show the results! We serve over 27,000 children a year and we have plans to serve more children each year. Our volunteer base is strong and growing. In fact, sometimes we have waiting lists for our volunteers because our programming is so popular.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Raise more money and hire more staff. There is such a strong need for our programming in our community and we need more staff to facilitate this.

February 19, 2010

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February 19, 2010

I have only been a board member for a year, but in that time, Free Arts has touched my life greatly. I had been looking for a place to serve in the community for a while, but never quite found the right fit. This is it! I am an artist myself, who came from a very dysfunctional family. Growing up, art was my solace. It gave me a place to escape the pain and express the feelings that were raging inside me. The at-risk and abused children we serve don't have access to the art materials that most kids take for granted. This is where Free Arts comes in. We provide the missing link - the materials and the tools to help them express all that is going on. The healing process even for a brief few hours begins. These hours build on themselves and at the end of a volunteer program, you have a group of children who start to feel better about themselves. Their self-esteem increases and consequently their presence in the community becomes less threatening to those around them. I was privileged to attend a Free Arts day at a girls’ home in Hollywood. The girls entered the room with an attitude of why do I have to be here. They were angry, shut down and very defensive. We handed out canvases and paint, magazines and found objects. They could paint anything that came to mind or use the materials for reference. It was a profound experience to watch these girls slowly lower their wall of defense. The one young girl I was working with treated her painting with such care that it became a meditative exercise. After awhile she softened her demeanor, made eye contact and even laughed. On a soul level there was healing taking place. By giving these kids a chance to express their feelings, we had made, even for a brief few hours, a difference in their lives. They were treated with respect and dignity, given a chance to be themselves in a non-threatening and non-judgmental environment. I left with a great sense of joy that I had made a difference in a young persons life. With your support we can reach even more of these children, giving them a chance to move beyond the limiting perimeters that currently define their lives.

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The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Full of compassion and had such a willingness to carry the vision of Free Arts forward. They work tirelessly and unceasingly, giving of themselves, so the kids can experience the joy that comes with the freedom to express in a creative way.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

February 11, 2010

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February 11, 2010

Free Arts for Abused Children is a great organization for not only the deep, positive impact it makes on thousands of children a year but by bringing together hundreds of volunteers so that they can gain a better understanding of their society/culture/city. Free Arts reaches over 25,000 children a year. They bring art into their lives - art can be a tool to express oneself or build self-esteem or bring pleasure or create bonds with others. It's so far-reaching in ways that are intangible. But based on the stories that we hear from our participants, bringing art to children in-need is crucial.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

How it brings volunteers from all walks of life together with children who have been neglected or abused. I love the idea of creating a community where both sides can build a better understanding of possibilities and hope.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

The volunteers are simply amazing. The creativity, the positive energy, the enthusiasm, the time, the compassion is truly overwhelming and inspiring.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Create a model that could be replicated in many cities around the United States. Currently there are affiliates in New York, Arizona and Minnesota but they operate independently from each other.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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3 hours of volunteer time for this nonprofit will...

Lead or facilitate a Free Arts Day, lead two sessions of a PACT (Parents and Children Together with art) Program, or lead 3 sessions of a Weekly Program. Volunteer