Updated: Nov 21
Through the illuminating process of art creation, drawchange’s methodology provides children from lower socioeconomic conditions the opportunity to learn through psychosomatic learning to communicate when words may not be available. This past year, one extraordinary child we call “T” participated in our Art & Percussion Camp where he was led through daily exercises of movement, exploration, and creativity. Throughout camp, we watched T gradually transform from quiet and unsure to confident and outgoing, making him one of our great (art camp) success stories of 2023.
On the first day of camp, T sat quietly without engaging with the other children, preferring to be alone than to play games. Instead of creating art, T’s canvas was void of color and his sculpture remained a ball of clay. During percussion time, he played his instrument so softly that no one could hear a single beat.
As the month-long camp rich with thoughtful and intentional instruction continued, T slowly
broke out of his shell. Day by day, T began engaging more with the other children and openly communicating with our team. T even started wearing brighter colors to camp!
A pivotal moment in T’s journey came when he was asked to write down words that describe him. T filled the paper with his favorite activities and his best characteristics as seen through his eyes. “Polite”, “nice”, “creative”, and “athletic” stood out on his page (see image). When asked why he chose to write those specific words, he sheepishly smiled and said, “That’s just what I believe!” At that moment, we knew we had witnessed the impact our art therapy-based program had on T. Like many children we work with daily, T now demonstrated more self-esteem and greater ease in self-expressing than when he walked through our doors just yesterday.
T’s emotional development describes drawchange’s impact.
By the end of his first week of camp, T stood out as a self-expressed and confident individual. He exhibited eagerness, kindness, and innovative ideas. What warmed our hearts the most was that he participated in every group activity and excitedly displayed his work during show-and-tell. The evolution of his art from that colorless first day to all of the colors of the rainbow demonstrates just how his imagination had opened, expanded, and flowed with much confidence and joy.
The inspiring story of T is one example of how we spread the healing power of art amongst children worldwide, strengthening their self-expression as well as their self-esteem.
A 2015 article by Buskirk-Cohen published in the Journal of Creativity in Mental Health titled “Effectiveness of a Creative Arts Summer Camp: Benefits of a Short-Term, Intensive Program on Children’s Social Behavior and Relationships'' discusses the benefits of a creative camp on a child's social behaviors and general wellness. In the pilot study, results revealed that art camps can have the ability to boost a young child's well-being (Buskirk-Cohen, 2015). Supporting the conclusions made in Buskirk-Cohen’s study, we provide an encouraging environment for children to discover the value in their thoughts and their voices. Through our programs, such as the Art and Percussion Camp that T participated in, children who often have no other outlets of self-expression learn to not fear communication and learn their worth.
In sum, our carefully crafted art therapy-based programs are a catalyst for self-expression and empowerment for children who may otherwise struggle to communicate their thoughts and ideas. We share heartwarming stories like T’s to inspire and provide hope for others. We are certain that by creating art through an art therapy-based structure like ours, children are more equipped to lead the lives they desire.
Buskirk-Cohen, A. A. (2015). Effectiveness of a Creative Arts Summer Camp: Benefits of a Short-Term, Intensive Program on Children’s Social Behaviors and Relationships. Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, 10(1), 34-45. https://doi.org/10.1080/15401383.2014.946637