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Using the healing power of art to help empower more children in Arizona

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Posted at 4:55 AM, Apr 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-20 09:25:14-04

PHOENIX — Using the healing power of art to help empower more children in Arizona to create a better future for themselves.

That's the mission of Free Arts AZ and it's paving the path to a lifetime of kindness and giving back to our community.

Free Arts AZ uses programs that harness the healing powers of art to help abused and homeless children learn to trust and heal.

All of the children in these programs have experienced combinations of family trauma, homelessness, and violence.

To get the process started the non-profit provides mentoring, a caring community, and an opportunity to learn new skills and express themselves.

"For children who have experienced traumatic events, abuse, neglect, or homelessness it can be really difficult to fight that idea of, 'How do I get past this? How can I get over this?" said Alicia Sutton Campbell.

Campbell, Executive Director of Free Arts AZ, says the programs offered focus on building resilience and hope.

Thanks to therapeutic art projects and the caring volunteer mentors, the kids who go through these programs learn there are adults in the world who they can count on and trust!

She also says these kids feel even more support when they work on projects while building relationships with volunteer mentors.

"That really makes those bonds significantly stronger," Cambell stated.

She also says these programs help to heal the long-term effects of toxic stress and trauma for more than 7,000 children each year.

"So in our camp program you will see a kid come the first day, they've got a hood over their head. By the end of the week they're ready! They're engaged. They feel good!" Cambell said.

None of it would be possible without well-trained trauma-informed volunteers and a sizable grant from The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation.

ABC15 talked to a young woman named Gabby, who has asked us not to share her last name.

She says, her life is forever changed after walking into Free Arts AZ seven years ago where she finally found peace.

"At first, in my head, I was like these people are not here to hurt you, they're here to help you and love you and care for you... to show you different opportunities and show you there's other people out there who want to be there to help care for you."

Gabby is happily married now.

She loves helping other kids at Free Arts AZ understand that life can get better when you have someone in your life who genuinely cares.

To learn more about the work of Free Arts AZ or how you can get involved, click here.