The 2012 Frisky Give Guide: Free Arts For Abused Children

This holiday season, The Frisky staff is committed to giving back. Throughout the month of December we’ll be telling you about some of the charities and nonprofits that we support, why they’re important to us, and how you can support them too, if you’re so inclined. 

Who they are: Free Arts For Abused Children

What they do: Free Arts programs inspire hope in the lives of children who have experienced abuse, neglect, poverty and homelessness through innovative creative arts programs and positive interactions with caring adult volunteers.

Why I support them: I got involved with this organization when I was living in Los Angeles and pursuing my acting career. At the time, I was in a play about actors who work with juvenile delinquent teens (I was playing a teen who was a stuttering pyromaniac who decides she wants to become a director). Once a week, we would have teens from a group home come and watch the performances and hold a discussion with the performers and the teens after the show. These discussions were really fascinating to me. They moved me. And I felt called to do more work in this arena.

From there, I decided, in a “life imitating art” move, to go out and do this in real life. So, I started volunteering for Free Arts for Abused Children. I went to a home for delinquent teen girls and did acting exercises with them. It only took me a few volunteer sessions before I was considering going back to grad school to be a counselor, which I did. Two years later, working in the arts with teens became my life when I was hired to teach theater and direct productions at an all-girls high school in inner city Los Angeles. (That play was weirdly prophetic, no?) I truly believe in the power to heal through the arts, both on the giving and receiving end. I feel like this volunteer work meant as much, if not more to me than it did to the kids I worked with.

How you can support them too: You can donate as little as $20, which gives a child a chance to participate in a Free Arts program. If you live in the Los Angeles area, you can also volunteer.

Stay tuned for more ways to spread the good cheer, and if you have a nonprofit organization you feel strongly about, please feel free to tell us about it in the comments!