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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

36 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

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

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.

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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.

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
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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!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Diana C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Claudia M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.