Free Arts plays an important role in the lives of families all across LA County. Their passionate staff and volunteers utilize creative ways to empower youth and their families through the artistic expression. I have been, and continue to be, inspired by the impact Free Arts has in the lives of so man; including the volunteers themselves.
I'm just a average guy that enjoys art. I have watched on Facebook and through the media how this group has helped abused kids. I myself grew up in a abusive household. As a child I had no one to help me promote my emotions through art. This did not stop me from drawing my feelings on paper. I still today after 40 years paint and write. I personally think that art in any form is a perfect way for a child that has been abused or watched abuse in their home to express and release the pain that is inside. Free Arts for Abused Children is allowing this. They are #1 in my book.
I moved to Los Angeles 2 years ago looking for a way to connect with my community and heard about Free Arts. They looked at my talents and connected me with Venice Community Housing. They serve children below the poverty line who otherwise would not have access to after school programs. I taught Hip-Hop Yoga once a week to children ages 6-12. Free Arts coordinators where there for me every step of the way, inspiring me thorough volunteer newsletters, showing their support through emails and phone calls, and showing up to our end of the year performance with t-shirts for each child to take home. Free Arts is the most organized and dedicated non-profit I've ever worked for. Their passion for offering free arts programs to children who greatly benefit from having art in their lives is to be emulated. Free Arts is a community of compassionate, talented and caring individuals dedicated to making our world a better place.
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).
Having attended various Free Arts events, it is clear that the staff are so committed to the children and families they serve. As an artist myself, I can completely attest to the therapeutic effect that the visual arts can have. I firmly believe that the services that Free Arts provides is imperative to our community.
The enthusiasm Annie, Kara, and the rest of the Free Arts for Abused Children team has is overwhelming. My experience at the 2010 Free Arts breakfast was eye-opening and made me realize the widespread impact Free Arts has had on the local Los Angeles community.
Free Arts has affected the lives of thousands of individuals, but has an even greater impact on the community as a whole. Through educational art outreach programs, Free Arts has made it clear that the cycle of child abuse can be broken through compassion and positive adult interaction.
Working with Free Arts for Abused Children has been one of the most fulfilling experiences in my college career. My student volunteer group has been working seamlessly with Free Arts for four years and when we wanted to expand that relationship by giving back to Free Arts, they reciprocated our energy. They were completely on-board for our Pillow Fight program, which has raised awareness for Free Arts and raised over $5,000 total in the two years of the program. We have been able to effectively deploy the money to fund more Free Arts projects and expand their presence in the Los Angeles community. Free Arts has truly been amazing.
Free Arts is providing a much needed opportunity for at risk youth and families to learn to express themselves in a healthy way and turn to art as an outlet. Every member of the Free Arts team that I have had the pleasure of meeting has truly had a place in their hearts for the individuals they are reaching out to. With the arts being slowly taken out of the classroom, it's essential that there are people like those at Free Arts who bring creativity and the emotional release of art to those who need it most. It's a beautiful experience, working with the children, and inspiring to witness their excitement and the confidence that begins to show as they feel pride in their projects.
Freearts doesn't only provide children with safe and alternative programs that allows them to escape the turbulance that often surrounds them, but gives them the ability to create art which frees their minds and arts inspiring them to create a brighter future for themselves.
I've been collaborating with Free Arts for the past two years and most recently, I got a chance to volunteer at a Free Arts Day. We helped kids make casts of their faces and hands to decorate and just get out all their creativity. It was wonderful to see the kids really get excited about the casts and really get into the process of making art. A lot of them started out shy at the beginning of the project, but by the end, they were extremely friendly and thankful to get a chance to do the project! It was great to see those smiling faces!
The volunteer training and experience I received at Free Arts has been invaluable to my success as a professional Art Therapist. Before heading off to Graduate school I spent 2 years volunteering with them. The guidance, wisdom and special attention to detail taught me so much about connecting with others through art.
I have always wanted to help children, but felt that it would be too emotionally painful for me. Once I was introduced to Free Arts I discovered that I could help children without taking home with me their
pain, but instead the hope for their future. Free Arts inspires the population they serve as well as every single person whom comes into contact with the organization. Art is a healing agent and one that is gentle, creative, fun, and very personal. My passion for Free Arts is extremely personal and has helped me to re-vitalize my conviction in the power of love, hope, and compassion.
Free Arts is the best organization that I've volunteered for! What they are doing for the Los Angeles community and beyond is truly amazing. As a volunteer, I teach a very free from art class in a project housing facility each week. My ten week program is photo-related so we decorate frames, make photo boxes, photo collages, etc. What's great about Free Arts is that it's introduces art in all forms to kids that may otherwise not be exposed to it. It gives them an outlet to express themselves in a healthy, fun, and creative way. I feel very lucky to have found Free Arts.
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.
Free Arts For Abused Children is the best volunteer organization i've volunteered with. The staff and administration are so incredibly passionate and kind, they have a heart of god. The children we help grow and are able to express themselves through our encouragment. I recently ran a "weekly program" for 8 weeks, and seeing the children every week blossom was truly a gift. ! More people need to her about free arts!
I simply love the Free Arts organization and all of its connected programs. FA could not have come into my life at a better time. It was back in 1998 and a friend mentioned her very positive experience with the children for which she'd come into contact with and how they touched her heart in a special way every volunteer experience. I so wanted to give of my time and affect positive change in the lives of young people. I am an African American woman and felt the need to be visible in some way into the lives of children affected, not only of my race, but to share in the Free Arts experience as a whole, with all children within the program. I can recall visiting one of the facilities for a Free Arts Day of which I'd previously visited several months prior and upon my return a little boy approached and called me by name and reminded me that I'd helpd him make his mom a bracelet, I was truly touched. On another visit a little girl was so shy, I wanted to make her feel comfortable and proud of her project she'd completed, so when she stood to present her finished project, upon her completion, I stood and blurted out that Arsenio Hall "woof, woof, woof" affirming howl - - she smiled. My connection to Free Arts and the children touches my heart, in part by the sheer and utter dedication from the staff and other volunteers who also are touched and feel deserve our attention - - attention from those who truly care and wish to bring positivity into the innocence of each child’s life through positive interaction with Art. The little hands deserve a free space and time to escape into this medium and the various projects the program has to offer. Volunteering not only allows me to give of my time and touch the lives of innocent children, but it also allows me to receive an abundance of joy when I depart - -such an enriching experience through art projects with the children. There is also a lesson taken from each visit which balances me and puts life into perspective of what and who truly matters.
In 2005, I participated in my employers Food & Toy Drive Committee. We were in the process of choosing a non-profit organization to sponsor for our Holiday Silent Auction Event. It didn’t take me long to find Free Arts For Abused Children. Their bright colorful website pulled me in and I began reading about who they were and what they did to help abused and at-risk children. I immediately fell inlove with the stories and pictures that they displayed. After they recieved the proceeds from our silent auction, it didn’t stop there with me; in 2006 I decided to become a volunteer as well. The team that ran Free Arts were wonderful, full of energy, and just about the nicest people you could ever meet. I wanted to do whatever I could to help by bringing them to our community services events, and participating in their Art Explosion Committee because I believed they were making a difference in childrens’ lives. Volunteering and seeing children participate in special activities has been very rewarding for me. You can see the changes in their attitude and behavior from the moment they walk in, to the moment they finish their project. I remember one Free Arts Day, there was a teenage girl who was a bit quiet and reluctant to participate. The first task was to come up with a word to describe their current emotion. She stared at her blank canvas for awhile. Some volunteers casually went by to encourage her. After seeing other girls write words like, “Anger”, or “Sadness”, she began to write as well. Perhaps knowing it was ok to actually write what you were feeling, or that she wasn’t the only one who felt that way, may have helped. She later created one of the best works of art I have seen. I understood then, that every inch of that painting was an expression of her emotions; all the rich colors she chose, the chaos and structure in it, every brush stroke, all represented something she was feeling at that moment. Her frown turned into a smile after it was completed. She knew what she had accomplished, step by step. That was an amazing experience for me, to see the postive changes happening to someone right before my eyes. Their smiles and laughter are worth a thousand words. I have seen many wonderful works of art from kids of all ages. You can clearly see that Free Arts helps build confidence and self-esteem through their workshops and activities. I can honestly say that Free Arts has a special gift. Not only do they have the tools to help children, they also have the kind and positive energy that children need to be around. The volunteers they train have that same quality as well. I am honored and humbled to be a part of Free Arts for Abused Children and will continue to show my support.
This wonderful organization does everything possible to help the at-risk children of Southern California. I don't know how they manage because there are so many children and not enough funds to help them all, but they do. The staff is always available and always so grateful for the help of the volunteers and the community. Recently they held a t-shirt decorating workshop so the volunteers could design their own t-shirts to wear when they volunteer. I was impressed with how well Free Arts took care of us and also the creativity in the t-shirt designs. I'm sure that for the children to see such expression on the volunteers' clothes will go a long way toward inspring and comforting them.
I've volunteered for Free Arts for the last couple of years. I have seen how the programs contribute and enhance the childrens lives. Free Atrs is truly and amazing charity, it has several different programs that help build self esteem in abused at at risk children.
While I was working I always felt I was too busy to volunteer, then in April 2007 I left my job. I quickly became bored and heard of VolunteerMatch and there I found Free Arts for Abused Children and it touched and broke my heart, I immdediatly contacted FAFAC,By November 2008 I was a volunteer,it was the best thing I could have done!!!! I truly enjoy every Free Arts day I attend!! I especialy like to attend 5 Acres Residential Home. There is always one child that tugs at my heart and I want to bring them home with me!!! I have recently started the process in becoming a Special Friend to this lovely needed children!! I love Free Arts for Abused Children the staff is very kind hearted and a very wonderful organization. Hugs, Leonor