Monday, August 12, 2013

Learning from one another

BuildaBridge artists from L to R:  Jessica LaBarca, Christine Byma, Robert Kelleher, Julia Crawford & Rebecca Asch

The participants in the adult group are learning from one another on many levels as are the staff of BuildaBridge and those from Nationalities Services Center (NSC). 

Participants in the adult group, led by Jessica LaBarca and Rebecca Asch, are learning:
  • How to communicate non-verbally since English is not a shared language
  • Each piece of art may not resonate with every participant the same
  • Similar or shared experiences can be good to process together but listening to vastly different experiences from others also holds much value
  • Art-making is a vehicle for them to process their past, express themselves and find hope for their future
As part of NSC's Philadelphia Partnership for Resilience (PPR), BuildaBridge art therapists and artists provide art therapy and therapeutic art-making groups in the community context for survivors of torture.   One group is for adults only and the other is for families with children.  BuildaBridge is an expert in providing art-making experiences for traumatized populations and NSC is an expert in refugee resettlement and case management services.  Together, we are learning how to coordinate our efforts to provide alternative and effective mental health services for sensitive refugee and immigrant populations.  Lessons from these groups will contribute to a possible collaboration with NSC's PPR for the rest of the year and add to the Philadelphia Refugee Mental Health Collaborative's work with all Philadelphia refugees. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

PRMHC Year 2 Report

BuildaBridge completed Year 2 activities of the Philadelphia Refugee Mental Health Collaborative on June 30th, 2013.  With continued funding from the Department of Behavioral Health and new funding from the Sheila Fortune Foundation and Union Benevolent Association, BuildaBridge has already started to plan and conduct Year 3 activities.  Burmese groups will start August 22nd and run for 10 weeks until October 3, taking a small break and re-starting in April 2014. 

Link to the Year 2 Report.