Meet Stephanie: Coping via Art Journalism

Written by Workhorse Marketing

Activities can help manage fear or stress and build self-esteem so it is an important part of our programs.  As part of our Horizons program, we partner with groups in the community to provide activities and new experiences for the youth in our care such as sports, cultural events and creative endeavors that can open new worlds and instill ambition for success.  Stephanie is a great example of how activities, and in this case, art activities, can be a powerful coping mechanism.

As part of this program, a local art group volunteered their time and expertise to hold art classes for the kids.  Everyone participated but Stephanie.  An angry and aggressive 15 year old girl, Stephanie staunchly refused to participate in the first class.  After seeing the beautiful works of art produced by the other kids, Stephanie did not hesitate to join in the second class.  As it turned out, she was quite skilled at art although she had never done anything like this.  She loved it.

Staff took advantage of this new-found interest and gave her an art journal.  Stephanie didn’t have the verbal skills to express her feelings so staff encouraged her to use art as a tool for self-expression.  Focusing on her art journal during times of anger or frustration gave Stephanie a positive coping mechanism and a feeling of empowerment never before experienced.

“Art-journaling” gave her self-expression, self-confidence and something to achieve.  By the time she left our care, Stephanie told staff that she was inspired to become an artist.  Even if she never pursues art professionally, she now has the knowledge to tap into creativity as a catalyst to move through difficult times, leaving a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.

In our current facility, we do not have the space for art projects or physical activities and must “make do” with the dining room table, small back yard or find an off-site location.  We are very excited that at the new campus we will have the Pat & Bill Munday Education and Recreation Building with a gym, library, activities room for art or movement classes and an on-site charter school to meet the needs of this special group of kids.