The title of this post was the headline of a local news article (www.pridepublishingroup.com) by the founder of the Children’s Defense Fund. I live in urban Nashville and I have felt the frustration she writes about on behalf of poor children. One young man she interviewed at a local high school here in Nashville said that he had been to 12 or 13 funerals of boys he had grown up with. He himself had been homeless, forced to make it on his own. Other teens talked of being afraid of being robbed–of violence, poverty, and trauma. These teens have a mentor, but Ms. Edelman laments that so many children do not. What does this have to do with poetry? When I looked at the CDF web site, there was an article about the power of art to give such young people hope.
In an article titled Youth Works, it was reported that the neighborhood of South Berkeley, just under two miles from downtown and the University of California at Berkeley campus, is the poorest region of the city — home to nearly 500 homeless youth and hundreds of other near-homeless young adults living below the poverty level.
“Art is beyond a shadow of a doubt therapeutic and healing because for a moment you step away from anything you’re going through. It’s a chance to breathe, a chance to reset your system and bring a new reality to an otherwise blank page.”
I continue to quote: “The concept of creating art as a means of therapy and healing is not uncommon. The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies has found a relationship between creative arts therapies and the brain, including how the brain processes traumatic events and the possibilities for reparation through art. The American Art Therapy Association emphasizes that art therapy programs help kids build resilience and move beyond life’s hurdles, promote self-awareness, improve self-esteem and competence, develop coping and control skills and lead to a stronger future.”
This sounds a whole lot like poetry therapy. I wonder what doors I should be knocking on and who would help me help the most vulnerable among us.