“We have seen an overwhelming number of instances where children in our workshops have gone from traumatized to transformed.”
– Christopher Morley – MPH, ArtReach Foundation Director
ArtReach training is conducted as experiential workshops for teachers, social workers and professional caregivers for children of trauma.
The war in Bosnia from 1992-1995 killed approximately 12,000 children and left many times that number with lives that would never be the same. It was for these children of war that The ArtReach Foundation® (ArtReach) was originally created. Fifteen years later, the benefits of ArtReach’s therapeutic programs have stretched farther into the world. Thousands of children, who have experienced trauma in all forms, have been assisted in moving from traumatized to transformed through ArtReach programs.
In the first five years of operation alone, over 250,000 children and teachers in Bosnia benefited from ArtReach programs, and worked towards healing their deep wounds. By providing training in how to use creative activities through the use of the ArtReach Model®, hope, empowerment and wellbeing can be restored. In 2006, ArtReach expanded its efforts into the Middle East, and also in that same year served Hurricane Katrina evacuees from the U.S. Gulf Coast. Last year, ArtReach took its work in Haiti to help address the residual effects of the 2010 Earthquake in children there.
ArtReach Foundation’s work in Haiti and has brought its expressive arts programs to the many children in that country who desperately need education on a fundamental level. The educational system in Haiti is often unavailable or sporadic for the majority of children there. ArtReach programs help bridge these gaps of need by providing teacher training and guidance that leave tangible evidence of an impact. ArtReach will provide ease and educational support that positively impacts these children that live in such an ongoing fragile environment.
The benefits of the ArtReach programs provide children with assistance in their ability to concentrate, and to learn how to share their thoughts and feelings. Their teachers, caretakers and social workers become aware of new pedagogical methods that encourage a child’s engagement in the learning process and build strong communication skills within their classroom. As a result, children become more self-confident, independent and are encouraged to become creative and critical thinkers.
“ArtReach shows teachers how to help children overcome their fears and make peace with the environment in which they live.
– Jusuf Gusic – Teacher, Tuzla, Bosnia
Town hall meetings for family members and community leaders are also held by ArtReach trainers to promote an understanding of the benefits of these unique programs.
Over many years, ArtReach has seen an overwhelming number of instances where children in the workshops have been moved from suffering to sustainable, devastated to dynamic, and traumatized to transformed. For these children there has been a break in the cycle of violence, and the possibility of peace and safety is envisioned. ArtReach is the break that makes this happen.
Statistics show that the state of Georgia represents home to thousands of refugees from Myanmar, Somalia, the DRC, Iraq, and Bhutan along with approximately forty other countries. In 2015 ArtReach will begin working to assist this population of children in moving from traumatized to transformed with the use of the creative expressive arts. These refugees speak more than 60 different languages and have settled in Georgia to escape war, persecution and massacres. The children and families of these communities have fled their homelands, lost their friends; immediate family members and often times witnessed horrific incidents as they relate to crimes of war.
“ArtReach has impacted the children in our school, and our community has become their beacon of hope. ArtReach is the ideal example of giving a hand up rather than a hand out, that is what the people of Haiti need – that is what the people of Haiti want.”
– Shad St. Louis – Ecole Mixte des Sibert, Haiti
Education and Healing through Imagination
Photo by Paul Hagedorn
|When natural or military disaster strikes, leaving thousands of traumatized children in its wake, The ArtReach Foundation offers hope. Through a unique program using expressive arts and creative problem solving, those affected are offered the tools necessary to heal and live productive lives.|
Even after the trauma occurs, some individuals will deal with grief many months, and possibly years, later. In some cases, their caregivers may also have experienced their own suffering, making it difficult for them to provide full care. At precisely the time the traumatized child may need special assistance, caregivers and social institutions may be least able to come to their aid. ArtReach is an instrucment of hope with a unique program for children. Their approach allows the expression of the individual’s deepest fears and traumatic experiences and creates the opportunity to heal.