One of the reasons I think yoga is so valuable...especially for youth...is how it cultivates self-discovery; knowing yourself more clearly will lead to a more authentic, healthy life. Sometimes events or situations occur that risk healthy development of body, mind and/or spirit. I recently became aware of an organization that makes use of creativity to help kids. I chatted with Nancy Stillger, Program Manager, for Art with Heart about their work in healing kids through creativity. I think you'll agree the work of Art with Heart is motivated from a place of love.
What does the name ‘Art with Heart’ signify?
Nancy: Our mission to help kids through the healing power of creativity; promoting mental health and well-being through art-based therapeutic publications and programs.
Who does Art with Heart serve?
Nancy: Art with Heart is a Seattle non-profit organization that has helped over 60,000 high-risk youth. Examples of youth we serve are those facing homelessness, abuse, major illness or in foster care.
What inspired the creation of Art with Heart?
Nancy: Founder and executive director Steffanie Lorig left an award-winning design career to found Art with Heart in 1996. Art with Heart began as a community outreach committee for the Seattle chapter of the American Institute of Graphics Arts. At that time, they fed homeless children and sponsored art projects that fostered reflection and expression. Then, in 1999, she learned an acquaintance's daughter, Hallie, was battling cancer. This became the inspiration for Art with Heart's first book, Oodles of Doodles.
Could you describe the publications available?
Nancy: We have 4 books that were created to help support youth and their siblings.
Oodles of Doodles is an activity book for hospitalized children that was created to help inspire creativity, as well as, reduce boredom and fear. The activities in this 48-page book are based in Cognitive-Behavioral, Narrative, and Art Therapies, and feature engaging artwork by award-winning illustrators; including Mary Grand Pré, famous for her art for the Harry Potter books. Oodles of Doodles has been endorsed by the Make A Wish Foundation, the Starlight, Starbright Foundation, the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the Society for Arts in HealthCare. Oodles of Doodles is also available in Spanish for those who wish to reach the growing population of Hispanic-Latino children to ensure cultural competency and sensitivity.
Magnificent Marvelous Me! was created for the siblings of youth with serious illness or disabilities, and it gives them a place to explore the emotions that the siblings of these populations commonly experience. Magnificent Marvelous Me! helps kids identify their support system, as well as communicate their needs, and its title reflects the deep-seeded need for these children to voice their own importance in their families. Loaded with lively activities created by book and game artists from all over the world, children are invited to explore the many challenges that they face, in an uplifting and encouraging way. Magnificent Marvelous Me! is filled with engaging drawing and coloring activities, with age-appropriate short questions and answers. And because each activity is based in therapy, it provides kids with a safe place to express themselves amidst the difficulties and uncertainty. Magnificent Marvelous Me! was designed to help children, ages 10 and under, with:
* Recognition of emotions and moods
* Behavioral choices
* Sibling and family connections
* Increased self-image and self-awareness
* Normalizing their family situation
* Improved communication
Chill & Spill is a therapeutic guided journal designed to help teens and preteens/tweens (ages 10+) articulate and transform difficult issues they are dealing with. It offers a combination of 20 creative writing and artistic expression activities with enough blank pages to explore both head and heart and to talk, yell, cry, boast, dream and evolve. Each page was illustrated by different award-winning artists, whose age-appropriate work you may recognize from MTV, Rolling Stone, Sony Music, Starbucks, and more. Co-written by Oodles of Doodles author, Steffanie Lorig and Art Therapist, Jeanean Jacobs, MA, ATR-BC, CPAT, CPC, Chill & Spill helps those who are in need of additional emotional support because of:
* Anxiety or depression
* Grief and loss
* Self-Esteem or Social development issues
* School crisis
* Self-harm or eating disorders
* Family difficulties
* Suicidal tendencies or anger management, etc.
Schools, hospitals, residential treatment centers and camps are all using the Chill & Spill journal to help reach out to the teens they serve with success.
Ink About It is a therapeutic activity book based in Cognitive Behavioral, Narrative and Art Therapies. Ink About It is a one-color book (“Bic Pen” blue) and features fresh and evocative illustrations that serve as a springboard for self-discovery and personal growth. Ink About It is designed to:
* Help struggling teens and tweens adapt and adjust to life’s ups and downs
* Lead kids toward social and emotional wellness
* Explore & express what’s going on inside of them through a combination of writing & art prompts
How best could someone support Art with Heart?
Nancy: 1) Make a donation: Donations support changes in young lives;
2) Purchase our books on behalf of your favorite school, hospital or nonprofit;
3) Host a fundraiser in your home or office;
4) Gather new or gently-used art supplies;
5) Volunteer in the office or behind-the-scenes at an event;
6) Be an Ambassador – tell others about Art with Heart.
All of Art with Heart’s publications can be ordered at artwithheartshop.org, and all proceeds go to help youth in crisis.
Has the circle been completed with a past Art with Heart child now working for Art with Heart?
Nancy: Not yet! But some of our youth have gone on to volunteer for us or speak on our behalf at fundraisers.
Please visit Art with Heart and consider volunteering and/or supporting their efforts with a donation; for those on Facebook, 'like' the Art with Heart page. With love as a motivator, I don't think there is anything that can't be accomplished.
Health, Wellness & CURES!!