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Monday, March 9, 2009

Monday Musings ~ Remembering

Many moons ago, before I was married, prior to having children, I was employed as an Art and Play Therapist in a Family Program supported by a Child Abuse Council in a large city. This was a specialized, therapeutic childcare program for abused and neglected children ages birth-five. The Councils mission was three tiered - to prevent abuse, to stop abuse, and to rebuild the child and family after the abuse. I worked in a structured program that addressed the latter with children ages 2-5. This wonderful setting offered the children a loving, therapeutic setting while their parents simultaneously participated in a program of parental training and counseling.

What always amazed me was the absolute resiliency of children. Not just in the sense of what some endured physically but the emotional capacity of a child to love despite what they suffered. I admired and respected their courage and ability to work through so much difficulty. We strived to create a non threatening, loving environment, offering opportunities through play and art related activities, where they could face their struggles and misperceptions of life based on their limited, often horrific, experiences. So often most were willing to go forward, and express incredible insight for such young children, and in the end, seem to have a very different view of their world.


Through painting, drawing, creating in so many mediums, and with the innocence only children have, they were so willing to delve into what was very painful - recreating it through art, destroying the piece and what it represented if need be, hopefully letting go and moving in a forward direction in their young lives. Art gave them this ability to shout, scream and express what they felt inside and could often not articulate because of their age. I do believe, the results were empowering and healing for them as individuals. Their confidence seemed to increase and they blossomed. I'm not saying that by the time they were five they were completely "healed". I don't know that one is capable of forgetting all you experience. But how I admired their capacity to forgive. Our hope was that in expressing this and confronting their feelings at such a young age, the cycle that so often occurs with abuse, would be broken.

I met some pretty amazing children whom I am sure are now amazing adults. I've thought about them often on many different levels, wishing them wellness, peace and love in their lives, hoping the time we spent many moons ago creating brought some recovery to their very young lives.

I have found this wonderful organization on the Internet for using the "arts to heal." (I did not work for this organization but just found it to be interesting) Click on the image to be taken to their website:
all photos are from the "Free Arts for Abused Children" website.

5 comments:

Gaston Studio said...

What a wonderful organization. Anything, anyone can do to help abused children rate A++ to me. And kudos to you for being a volulnteer. This is the kind of volunteering I could never do because I would get too involved and emotional and essentially, be useless to those who needed help the most.

The Pink Bird House said...

what a touching post. It reminds me so much of my older sister who used to volunteer her college-free summers at a camp for physically disabled children, and to this day, she still talks of how much those children touched her heart. thanks for sharing.

Krazy Kate Designs said...

Very cool!

Rocki said...

This was a very heartfelt read. There are many ways to help heal the pains of abuse, including poetry. But I must say that this is truly a beautfiul way to express what is deep down inside and just begging to come out.

Wonderful post.

yippeevintage said...

Denise, what a touching post. The number of children who experience this kind of trauma is amazing. That organizations that help them heal are simply wonderful. Things like this help me keep an open mind about people. You never really know the difficulties that people have been through in their lives and they can manifest in so many ways.