Keonna (her name has been changed to protect her privacy) is a 10-year-old girl living at People’s Emergency Center (PEC) with her family. She is a regular participant in PEC’s “Kids Therapeutic Arts and Movement” group, facilitated by Laurie Amado, our Independence Foundation Health and Human Services Fellow. Laurie took a few moments to tell us about this group and its significance for our families.
“Kids often teach us so much about resilience. Our PEC children are no exception. It's amazing watching them smile, laugh, play, and create amid the challenges of experiencing homelessness and trauma that is related to that. Keonna is one of those kids. She is also gentle and thoughtful.
The kids from our group were preparing to present their art projects to their parents and PEC staff. Each child presented a different project. Keonna volunteered to describe our pottery painting activity. With no prompting from me at all, she stood up straight, held her head high, and said, ‘We painted the insides of these pots to show how we feel on the inside. Sometimes we show something different on the outside than how we feel inside, because we don't want people to see what's inside. We painted the outside to show that.’
In that moment everything in me smiled as I thought, ‘She got it!’ It's beautiful to see our children developing skills to connect with and express their emotions in healthy ways through the arts. It's even more beautiful to see that carried on past our group time, knowing that this will help them to be even more resilient as they move through the challenges they face.”
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