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2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Free Arts for Abused Children

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Services, Child Abuse Prevention, Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Crime & Law, Domestic Violence, Philanthropy, Voluntarism Promotion

Mission: Free Arts programs inspire hope in the lives of children who have experienced abuse, neglect, poverty and homelessness through innovative creative arts programs and positive interactions with caring adult volunteers.

Results: In 2012, over 400 Free Arts volunteers donated nearly 14,000 hours of service in order to inspire hope in the lives of nearly 30,000 children at 28 partner agencies, which include: children's courthouses, residential care facilities, domestic violence shelters, low-income housing communities, and family resource centers.

Target demographics: Children who have faced abuse, neglect, poverty, and homelessness, as well as their families.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 28,079 children and 143 adults

Geographic areas served: Greater Los Angeles, including Orange County

Programs: Free Arts Day Program: Children have the opportunity to express themselves, experiment with new mediums, and engage in positive social interactions with adult volunteers at these art festivals. Weekly Volunteer Program: Children have the opportunity to explore in-depth a particular art medium or theme, develop relationships with consistent adult role models, and nurture a better sense of self during the course of a 10 to 20-week program. Courthouse Program: Children have the opportunity to experience relief from the anxiety of their circumstances through participation in volunteer-led arts and crafts projects while they wait for their court hearings. Parents and Children Together with Art (PACT) Program: Families have the opportunity to discover art as a vehicle to strengthen family bonds in a non-judgmental environment created by volunteers during an 8-week program.

Community Stories

60 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Free Arts is amazing!!! I am a children's program coordinator for an emergency shelter for homeless families and they put together a wonderful week long summer camp for the children. Everyone is so genuine and passionate. I really enjoyed collaborating with Free Arts and the children absolutely felt the love and support. Thank you Free Arts!!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The vibrancy and enthusiasm that the staff and volunteers of Free Arts evoke and the dedication to their mission to inspire hope in the lives of children is what makes this such a an amazing agency. It is rarely an easy task to engage kids who are generally distrustful of outsiders because of the negative experiences they have had in their short lives. Jorie Aldrich and her group of volunteers had absolutely no problem breaching that obstacle with the children at our Public Housing development. I am personally grateful to Free Arts and look forward to working with them again!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering at Free Arts for over a year and it's the best experience I've ever had. They give me all the support I need and being able to work with kids is a dream come true. I can't believe they do what they do with so little. Once I get a higher paying job I'm going to give more than my time!

Client Served

Rating: 5

AMAZING!!!!! This agency is so well equipped! They build such great rapport with the kids and are so full of life and energy! I am in awe watching them do their work and they are SUPERB at it! You can tell they are genuine in their care for the community, take the time to get to know the kids and area they are working in. FREE Arts was a HUGE success for our community because they are so authentic and can connect with our kids! Free Arts creates events that truly are life changing!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Freet Arts has done an amazing job with providing services to our children here at our facility. The organization is very easy to communicate with with, and very open to any ideas and suggestions that I have. Volunteers show up to lead classes on time, with a positive attitude, and ready to make a difference in the lifes of other.

I do not know what our facility would do without Free Arts. Thank you!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I've had a wonderful experience working with Free Arts for Abused Children and it is a mission I am happy to financially commit to. They provide a wide variety of art services to many communities in Los Angeles and provide a service that is greatly needed.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

hey in on probation am tryn to find me a place to do my community service at help me please

Client Served

Rating: 5

Free Arts did an amazing job providing services to our agency and we cannot wait to work with them again. They are truly changing the lives of thousands of kids and they are efficient and hard working. It is truly amazing how much impact they have with such a small staff and it is nothing short of extraordinary.

Comments ( 1 )

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FreeArtsED 12/04/2013

Thanks, Robert! We're so glad you had such a great experience!

3

Donor

Rating: 2

I don't know what is wrong with the organization, but there has been a lot of turnover with the staff and leadership. I gave money at an event they had downtown and wanted to learn more and nobody called me to follow up. I tried reaching their director and was given the run-around. When I finally did make contact I spoke with a woman (forget her name but she had an accent) who didn't seem to know a thing about the whole organization. I would not donate again.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The work done by the staff and volunteers at Free Arts is amazing. I get so much when I give my time to this organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Children are our most precious resource. There minds are fertile and in need of constant nourishment. The Arts help provide a nurturing that these abused children so desperately need to not only to grow but to help heal the wounds and scars that have been inflicted on them.
I have been involved in a number of different organizations that help children in different ways, they are great organization but the ones that stand out to me are those that effect the mental state of the child and Art does that. It allows the child to express feelings that he or she does not even know they have and thereby releases so much pent up emotion you can at times actually see the child's eyes start to brighten and a little of the pain lifted.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have worked with, participated in and donated to several charies for children. I have never seen another one that is so well run. I am currently a Trustee of the Board of Directors of the Hollywood Arts Council. We have an outreach program Project S.O.A.R. It reaching a small population of the children of Hollywood in the elementary schools. We had too great loses. Shauna McClure became the Executive Director of Free Arts for Children. Trevi Fountation also left and became the Community Liason for the Foundation. I am amazed and so proud of all the success events. They have created a production company that is throughout the Los Angeles area. It is wonderful that some many abused children's souls are fed by the arts they have provided. They are heading up a dynamic staff that raising the conscientiousness and fundraising. The programing is so insightful and meaningful to the lives of these children and to our community as a whole. This foundation lets children know that than can make something beautiful and it opens the door to other things they can accomplish in life. The art they create is something permenant in their transitory lives. I truly believe that their programing and community outreach is making a huge difference.
I suggest that you open your hearts and write checks to allow them to reach more children to give them hope. In turn you will recieve the joy of giving and knowing that you too are making a difference.

Tony Clark
Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked with this charity this year and held a benefit which raised a little money for them--- they do amazing work in the community with at risk youth who really, really need it.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

To Whom It May Concern:

I'm been impressed with the professionalism shown by the Free Arts organization in general. I've had some involvement with a few non-profits and my observations are as follows: 1) They are often run by the 'seat of their pants' - not having clearly defined purpose or goals - and "re-acting" as opposed to "pro-acting;" OR 2) The founders or those in charge do not allow outside input (ie, younger people and new ideas) and continue to run the organization as if their own private company. The result -- limited or NO growth and not changing with the times. AND the organization's effectiveness (which may have been impactful in the beginning) is diminished greatly, and often eventually dies.

Juding from what I've seen over the past year, I do not see Free Arts falling into either of the above situations.

Sincerely,
DM Smith

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I collaborated with Free Arts for an exhibition.
They generously allowed us to use ALL of their works for the exhibition and provided full support throughout the process. Huge thank you to Director of Development, Audrey, and Community Liaison, Trevi for making such amazing experience possible.
Great team, great mission and great passion equal great nonprofit!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked as an intern this summer for Free Arts and am so thankful that I had the opportunity to learn and work with such compassionate, smart, creative, and dynamic people. Shauna, the executive director extraordinaire, made it a priority that I experienced as much of the non-profit world as possible by setting up a rotation with each department.

I was first placed with Lindsay, the Operations Coordinator and the heart of the office. She taught me the basic functions of a successful non-profit and really demonstrated how to manage the daily tasks in an organized manner.

I then moved into Programs where I was in charge of coordinating new volunteers and assisting with volunteer placement. I was also in constant communication with our wonderful partner agencies. I was so lucky to see the entire process of finding just the right volunteer for each agency and help create new connections. This was one of my favorite parts of the summer. Each agency I spoke with could not stop raving about our volunteers and innovative programs. I had the pleasure of facilitating a Free Arts Day during this rotation and was so filled with joy and fulfillment as I interacted with the children and really saw how art can motivate and inspire our clients.

My final rotation was with Development in which I was able to put my fundraising skills to use. I learned so my useful skills that I will definitely carry into my professional life; from writing proper formal requests to communicating with large businesses I was given the independence to learn in the most hands on way possible. I also helped secure auction items for our November 8th fundraiser ART HEALS! During this time, I was under the supervision of Audrey, the Development Director. She became my mentor this summer and a true role model for me.

Because we are such a small office, I was given the personal attention and opportunities for improvement and growth by the all of the staff. Audrey took time out of her incredibly busy schedule to teach vital interview skills. Shauna met with me regularly to improve my communication tactics. Free Arts' staff and volunteers exemplify dedication and constantly demonstrate how a non-profit should run. I could not have asked for a better experience! Everyday was such a rewarding experience and I hope to continue my involvement.

Review from Guidestar

Craig S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have nothing but good things to say about Free Arts. I’ve been associated with this organization for over 2 years and I’ve enjoyed every event I’ve attended. Annie, the Executive Director is simply awesome! She is an amazing leader and organizer. The rest of the staff gives nothing less than 110%. They give heart and soul in all they do. If there’s one organization I recommend you want get behind and support, this is it. I guarantee you won’t regret it.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I came to Free Arts for Abused Children to volunteer a day and get a Disney day for free. Well, I didn’t get the Disney day, but what I found was an incredible organization that changed my life. Once I experienced a Free Arts Day did I fully understand the power of how ‘art’ made a difference in a child’s life. What hooked me was seeing the smiling face of a child holding their art creation. If that doesn’t tug at your heart nothing will. Free Arts is a great organization with people who care!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It's still the most amazing organization ever. I have personally experienced over and over again the magic of bringing art to kids who need it.

Previous Stories
4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with Free Arts for about 8 years. They are an amazing organization. Free Arts days bring art projects into various children's charities - last Saturday we were in a residence facility for 70 kids. These neglected children were so happy to have us there and happy to share their feelings through art. They got to be kids and they got to express themselves in a positive way!!

John L.

Advisor

Rating: 5

The staff at Free Arts is beyond compare. Passionate, fair, and -- maybe most importantly -- patient! I've had the please of working with the team as a consultant, and would do so again without hesitation.

Donor

Rating: 5

As a donor I appreciate how the staff makes every dollar count. They work to find in-kind donors. They utilize every opportunity to find discounts and value in their purchases to serve these children. It's a tough economic time, as we all know, so I like how there is nothing frivolous about the staff, their offices, or the way they spend the limited amount of money that I can send. I trust that the donations I send are well used for the benefit of the children and families.