Saturday, October 26, 2013

Project Updates

Forty-nine - the number of participants served by BuildaBridge during the 10-week Philadelphia Partnership for Resilience (PPR) groups this past summer.
Twenty - the number of participants who attended at least two groups or more
Seven - the number of participants who attended at least four groups or more
Six - the number of artist personnel who led groups for the participants

Considering that these groups were a pilot, having never been done before and conducted to gauge interest among participants, these attendance statistics shed light on the need for the groups and the interest to continue.  Participants noted that the groups assisted them in building community among one another, particularly sharing similar experiences even though they came from different parts of the world.  Artists noted many participants became more expressive, creative and were more willing to open up because it was a safe space and in addition, art-making naturally allows one to externalize the internal without the use of words.  BuildaBridge will continue to collaborate with Nationalities Services Center and the PPR to offer the art therapy and therapeutic art-making groups in the community mental health context to survivors of torture until October 2014.

With regard to the PRMHC, the Bhutanese group started their Fall 2013 term on October 20 with some returning children from last term and will continue until mid-December.  The Burmese group will re-start in April 2014.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Art of the Journey

BuildaBridge recently completed the first of two 10-week terms with the Burmese population in South Philadelphia.  Art Therapist Natalie Hoffmann led a team of artists including Jessica LaBarca and Liz Green in using geography as a focus for the art activities this term.  Children explored their the journeys they took from East Asia to Philadelphia through a number of art activities in addition to pieces solely focused on where they live now.
Cut-out maps of Pennsylvania served as the foundation for collages, helping children understand the state in which they live and where Philadelphia is located on the map.  

 Maps of East Asia served as the starting point for children to draw how they got to Philadelphia and what that journey looked like to them. 

To conclude the first 10 weeks and celebrate the successes, BuildaBridge staff held a celebration on October 3rd with snacks, songs and a time of sharing.  Burmese groups will re-start in April when it is lighter out longer in order for families to feel safe walking to and from the group location.
View more photos of the celebration.