Success Story: How a Child Transformed in 20 Minutes

Victor jamming out with one of our volunteer team members
Victor jamming out with a team member

Art Beyond Borders MX/AZ was truly a transformative week that spoke to the power art has to transcend cultures and life circumstances. Our team of seven traveled to Tucson, Arizona to bring drawchange’s art therapy-based programming to children seeking asylum from life-or-death situations at the border. We partnered with a Welcome Center and went with the goal of crafting a welcoming space of hope for families who have endured arduous journeys filled with stressful unknowns. Often arriving with physical wounds from their journey while experiencing one of the greatest disruptions of their lives, we were able to meet them where they were and provide a time to safely process and express their emotions.

A time to just be a child.

While the average family stays at the Welcome Center for a short period of time before traveling to their next destination, drawchange plays a unique and powerful role in fostering a renewed sense of hope as they embark on the next step of their journey.

One of the most inspiring illustrations of our work can be seen in the story of eight-year-old Victor*. When Victor approached our creation area, he hesitated to leave his parent’s side, repeating the word “peligro” ("danger"' in Spanish). His family encouraged him to go and one of our volunteers, Cindy, got down to his level reassuring him he was safe and he would have fun with us. He hesitantly agreed to sit and contribute to our Collaborative Mandala project and stay by the side of Cindy, who he now trusted.

Children and team members working on Collaborative Mandala project.
Working on Collaborative Mandala project.

After starting to draw and receiving attention and reassurance from our team, he visibly became more comfortable. He began participating in the day’s project, “Collaborative Mandalas”, which allows each child at the table to begin a pattern that the rest of the children follow. Victor began to beam as art materials were put at his disposal, and became happily engaged with the volunteers and other children as they created the mandala together. After finishing his mandala, Victor offered help to o