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Free Arts for Abused Children
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

MY ROLE:
Board Member & fundraising/strategize/volunteer.