OUR STORY

The war in Bosnia from 1992-1995 killed 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 helped to move from being traumatized to transformed through ArtReach programs.

THE SUCCESS

In the first 5 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. This year, ArtReach began its work in Haiti to help address the residual effects of the 2010 Earthquake in children there.

“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

THE NOW

ArtReach HAITI is the Foundation’s newest initiative, and is now bringing its expressive arts programs to the many children in that country who desperately need education on a fundamental level. The Haitian educational system is often unavailable or sporadic for majority of children in Haiti. ArtReach programs will help bridge these gaps of need by providing teacher training and guidance that leave tangible evidence of an impact.

A two-week Pilot Program was recently conducted for 42 participants who were trained in how to use expressive arts activities with children. This initiative will become a multiyear training program in Sibert, Haiti. Ultimately, ArtReach will provide ease and educational support that positively impacts these children that live in such an ongoing fragile environment.

A recent discussion with an Atlanta organization about the value of ArtReach programs to refugee children in Atlanta occurred. Statistics show that Clarkston, Georgia represents home to thousands of refugees from Vietnam, Somalia, Iraq, and Bhutan along with approximately forty other countries. Theses refugees speak more than 60 different languages and have settled in Clarkston 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 can assist these children in going from traumatized to transformed with the use of the expressive arts.

THE IMPACT

ArtReach is committed to the continuation of this concentration in Haiti and to help children who have been affected by trauma and poverty-level existence. The benefits of the program will provide these children with assistance in their ability to concentrate, and to learn how to share their thoughts and feelings. Their teachers become aware of new pedagogical methods that encourage this child 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.

THE HOW

ArtReach training is conducted as experiential workshops for teachers, social workers and professional caregivers for children of trauma. Town hall meetings for family members and community leaders are also held by ArtReach trainers to promote an understanding of the benefits of this unique program.

The ArtReach HAITI initiative is built on the extensive experience and success of all previous ArtReach programs. Over many years, the Foundation has seen an overwhelming number of instances where children in ArtReach 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 that break to make this happen.

“ArtReach has impacted the children in our school, and our community has become the beacon of hope for these children. 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.

News & Events

The ArtReach® Foundation returns to its roots to benefit children who suffer from war and natural disaster, with a new Executive Director to lead the way. ArtReach announced this month that Martha Henson has joined the 15-year-old organization as Executive Director to lead their newest initiative, Project Haiti.  Henson comes…

The ArtReach Foundation would like to invite all of you on November 4th, from 6-9pm, to attend the opening of ONE TEN Gallery, 110 East Andrews, Suite 9, Atlanta GA 30305 15% of all sales the weekend of November 4-6 will benefit The ArtReach Foundation. RSVP: brook@onetengallery.com

The Jordan National Gallery’s wonderful mobile art educational program for children has received recognition for its innovative approach. What could be better than to have an exciting Touring Museum bring its original artwork to your town under the leadership of an acclaimed artist such as Suheil Baqaeen. He can make…

News & Events

During a week in March each year, Creative Arts Therapists sponsor workshops, exhibitions, and other events to share their work with the public. The ArtReach Model incorporates the collaborative work of Creative Arts Therapists in bringing healing interventions to traumatized children and adults. We appreciate each of our ArtReach Creative…

Click here to download a printable version of the newsletter! Message from the Founder: Recently I heard a quote from one of our donors, the late Dorothy McClatchey, who said “To be in the moment is to be between the fruits of the past and the seeds of the future”….

The ArtReach Foundation would like to offer our sincere thanks and a shout out to Mary Beth Johnson, jewelry designer and supporter of our mission! Just in time for holiday shopping, we invite you to visit MiaLena Designs page and learn about its Founder, Mary Beth Johnson. Marybeth lives in…