What is the Art Restores Kids Program?
The Art Restores Kids (ARK) Outreach program is a trauma informed program that uses art to guide children affected by domestic violence and/or other related trauma toward their own empowerment by giving them a means to heal from their traumatic experiences. The program workshops use curriculum developed by A Window Between Worlds based out of Venice, California. The ARK program allows children to express their feelings, learn their unique gifts, and rebuild self-confidence through art and meaningful relationships. Further, the program partners with local artists, local art and entertainment venues, businesses, not-for-profits, volunteers and more to focus on serving all victims of domestic violence.
Some of the goals of the program include: to improve one’s emotional, spiritual, mental well-being, to relieve stress or tension and to teach children positive ways to handle anger and pain. Cricket's Hope has found that children who participate in our art based programs report increased levels of hope, feel better about themselves and feel connected to us and to their healing journey. It is an amazing program and not only does it have a great reputation with the partners we collaborate with but also with the children who enthusiastically participate and their parents.
The Art Restores Kids program of Cricket’s Hope in partnership with Inter Faith Ministries and the First United Methodist Church is available to children who have experienced family violence – either as a witness to domestic violence in their home, or as a victim of violence themselves or other life changing trauma. The ARK program is also available to children selected for participation by our outreach partners.
Where is the Program?
Currently the Cricket's Hope offers our ARK program at Crickets House and a number of community partner locations. Cricket’s House became part of the SFJC in 2014 through a generous donation from the Christopher P. Walker Foundation and it now being leased by Cricket's Hope in order to expand the program. Children that participate in the ARK program and Camp Hope campers meet at this incredible location (Cricket's House) to have parties, do art, and become family. ARK staff is also located at this site. It is an amazing “art house” designed for children to come have fun and to be safe with loving people that care about them and their future.
How Does ARK Make an Impact?
Children are often unable to talk openly about the abuse they have been exposed to or affected by, and art is a safe way to explore feelings and share voices. Our children understand the importance of having a safe place with non-judgmental facilitators. They thrive in this type of relationship and that helps them heal. Our ARK program includes ongoing mentoring of the children as an essential component. The children learn to be in a positive relationship with caring and loving adults and mentors. This gives them a feeling of hope and optimism while having people encourage and inspire them.
The ARK program is project and workshop based. It is not art therapy, but it is therapeutic in nature. Our goal is to love these children unconditionally and to provide them support from which to model their lives in the future. We have found the children who are in our programs look so forward to the programs that they want to come to school and get good grades so that they are eligible to participate. They learn to self-monitor their impulses and behavior to earn the privilege to attend parties, class and other outings and most importantly they begin to show other qualities of well-being.
Once a year Cricket's Hope will host an event in which professional artists interpret art created by the kids who have participated in our ARK program. This event offers a unique opportunity for us to start a conversation around domestic violence and to raise awareness in our community around this topic. Together we stop the cycle of violence! And the amazing art created by these young artists might be just what it takes to inspire us all to action. What could be more important?
For more information or to get involved contact Cindy Schneider at 209-312-9991 or via email at Cindy@crickets-hope.org.
Camp Hope/Other Camps
WHAT IS THE CRICKET'S HOPE CAMP PROGRAM?
The camp experience for children can be a very pivotal experience for children and Cricket's Hope is committed to partnering with Camp Hope America, a national camping and mentoring initiative in the United States that focusing on children exposed to domestic violence. The vision for Camp Hope America and shared by Cricket's Hope is to break the generational cycle of family violence by offering healing and hope to children who have witnessed family violence.
For many of our kids going to camp is their first time away from home or certainly their first time at camp. While at camp there are many other firsts: first time rafting, first time on a ropes course, first time learning archery and so much more. Given the prevalence of children exposed to domestic violence in the US and the negative consequences on their futures, an effective system-level intervention is needed to provide children the opportunity to develop positive coping mechanisms that will allow them to thrive in difficult environments. Camp hope is a system level intervention and Cricket's Hope supports this camping approach annually. We believe it is important to provide children hope and healing and camp is one of the ways we have been able to provide this for our children.
In partnership with the First United Methodist several children were sponsored to attend Camp Lodestar in the Sierra Nevada Foothills. This camp opportunity is a wonder example of partnership between a caring and generous church community with the needs of Cricket's Hope children. We are looking for partnerships like this in the future.
You might be thinking why camp? At camp our kids learn to rely on the connections. They are stretched physically and mentally. It is an amazing time of growth for us all. While camp lasts just a short time each summer we also keep in touch with our campers throughout the year at Cricket’s House with our Friday drop in days called Camp Crickets, camper reunions and other special activities and events planned throughout the year.
How can you get involved in our camp program? There are many ways!
Would you be interested in becoming a camp counselor for Camp Hope or Camp Cricket? – We need volunteers every summer.
Could you sponsor a camper or make other needed donations? Our camp experiences are funded through grants and through our very generous donors.
“At camp our kids test their mental and physical limitations and in doing so they come to realize that connections are critical to accomplishing great things. That is so important for these kids and important to breaking the cycle of violence. “
To find out more about our camp programs or how to get involved, contact Cindy Schneider our Director of Camp via email at Cindy@crickets-hope.org or call at 209-312-9991