Tag Archives: trauma

Artists for Trauma

Healing yourself is connected with healing others. 
~ Yoko Ono 

The founder of today’s organization healed herself and has since turned to heal many others.  In May of 2008, a helicopter crash on Catalina Island, just off the coast of Southern California, killed three people and injured the other three people on board.  Laura Sharpe was one of those three survivors.  She had 43 broken bones and burns on more than 40 percent of her body.  She spent four weeks in a coma and endured multiple skin grafts and the partial amputation of her foot.

Just three short years after her traumatic accident, she co-created The Laura Project, a collaboration with five artists in Southern California.  The project portrays the crash and her recovery in a variety of mediums including photographs, film, sculpture, paintings, dance, and music.

In an article on the project in the Ventura County Star, Laura said, “It was such a spiritual engagement and so helpful for my healing process.  It’s about how you can make art from tragedy, something beautiful and artistic from the negative occurrences of life.”

Artists for Trauma

After her experience of using art to assist in her healing and feeling compelled to help other trauma survivors through recovery, Laura founded Artists for Trauma.  The organization is dedicated to enriching the lives of both civilian and military trauma survivors by pairing recovering patients with established artists from various disciplines.  They aim to expedite recovery through artistic expression and human connection.  Artists for Trauma provides a creative portal to help patients process complex emotions, regain confidence and build self-acceptance after suffering a traumatic experience.

Watch Laura tell her own story in the video below.

How can you help?
Volunteers are needed throughout the United States.  

  • If you are a trauma survivor, you can sign up to become a student artist.  Learn more on their website.
  • If you are an artist, you can sign up to be a volunteer artist to assist trauma survivors.  Volunteers are needed all across the United States.  You can learn more and sign up here.
  • You can also make a financial donation on the organization’s website.  Donations fund the equipment, supplies, and community outreach among other things to support the work of the organization.
  • If you live in the Los Angeles area, you can help Artists for Trauma at a an event on Saturday, May 4th, from 11:00

    AM-1:00 PM in Los Angeles. There is always room for more volunteers

    so if you would like to join in and participate in this fun, creative day, you can email them at

To learn more about Artists for Trauma visit their website,  You can also connect with them on Facebook, YouTube, or their blog.

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Posted by on May 1, 2013 in Nonprofit Organization


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Center for Survivors of Torture and War Trauma

Like me, many people who are reading this blog have never been through torture or war trauma.  Not everyone is that lucky.  Today’s organization is here to help those individuals.

The Center for Survivors or Torture and War Trauma (CSTWT) is a St Louis, Missouri based organization with a mission to facilitate the healing process for refugee and immigrant individuals and families who have survived torture and war, and to help them transcend the suffering and move toward healing and self-empowerment.  They work toward this mission by providing culturally appropriate, holistic mental health services in an atmosphere of professional, therapeutic support.

The Center began in the early 1990s when therapists were seeing an increase in refugees who were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. In response, Jean Abbott, CSJ, LCSW coordinated an informal coalition of service providers to address the special needs of these new Americans.  An early partnership with Provident, Inc (a St Louis area family service non-profit agency) made it possible for Abbot to provide on-site therapy to refugees and immigrants.  In the summer of 2001, CSTWT was incorporated as a 501c3 non-profit corporation in Missouri to continue this work with an emphasis on providing mental health services.

St Louis has become one of the largest new resettlement homes for immigrants and refugees and is the largest resettlement city for Bosnians. The Center for Survivors of Torture and War Trauma serves immigrants and refugees who have fled countries such as Afghanistan, Bosnia, Ethiopia, Iran, Somalia, Liberia, Iraq, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where they have experienced persecution, war, or other forms of trauma.

Common after effects of trauma for refugees and immigrants include fear, isolation, flashbacks, nightmares, dissociations from the present, difficulty regulating emotions and distrust of others.  Common mental health issues reported by refugees who have experienced torture include post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and depression.  Such complex mental health issues make it especially difficult for individuals to maintain employment, sustain housing, and take care of themselves their families.

How can you help?

There are many ways to give your time to the Center for Survivors of Torture and War Trauma. Opportunities include office support, pro-bono therapeutic services for professionals, teaching different types of performing arts to high school youth, mentoring with their after-school program, and administrative projects like grant-writing, advocacy campaigns, or fund raising events.  You can also make a donation on their website

You can learn more about the Center for Survivors of Torture and War Trauma by visiting their website,  You can also contact them via e-mail at or connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

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Posted by on November 23, 2011 in Nonprofit Organization


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