Healing Through the Arts

  • Subject: Joe, Arts for Kosair Kids® participant from Boys and Girls Haven
  • Initiative: Arts for Kosair Kids® – Provides access to transformative arts experiences for our community’s most vulnerable youth.
  • Donor: Kosair Charities
  • Author: Boys and Girls Haven Staff

Joe* is 17 years old. She loves cooking, writing, Taylor Swift, The Flash, and the University of Kentucky Wildcats. Thanks to grant funding from Fund for the Arts and Kosair Charities, Joe is also empowered to practice one of her greatest loves: art.

Joe entered Boys & Girls Haven’s residential foster care program in the fall of 2017, but her love of art developed much earlier than that. She began drawing at the age of 12 when her foster brother gave her a set of pastels as a gift.

“Art helps me work out my feelings,” she says. “I can get away from the world – get away from my anxiety and anger.”

While oils and pastels are Joe’s medium of choice, she has also enjoyed working alongside our artists-in-residence as they introduced her to pottery, drip painting, and a variety of other mediums and techniques.

Boys & Girls Haven, a local nonprofit foster care agency, first opened its doors nearly 70 years ago to care for tweens and teens, like Joe, who have nowhere else to turn. While the world has changed in the last seven decades, the need for young people to find a home and the space to heal and grow only continues to expand. Currently, there are nearly 10,000 children in foster care in Kentucky – a record number for the state.

The majority of children removed from their homes in Kentucky – including the young people at Boys & Girls Haven – are victims of abuse and neglect. Often, this trauma creates a need for psychological and behavioral intervention. The sensory-based qualities of the arts provided through this grant are a welcome addition to the traditional, trauma-informed therapies and modalities already in place at Boys & Girls Haven.

Thanks in large part to grant funding, Boys & Girls Haven is honored to have access to all necessary resources and the expertise of local artists to bring the arts directly to our kids. The “James D. Nesbit Art Studio” at Boys & Girls Haven (including a fully functioning pottery kiln) has never been more active than it is today!

Thank you to Fund for the Arts and Kosair Charities for making the arts accessible to young people in foster care at Boys & Girls Haven.

*Name changed to protect privacy.

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