And we thought a FLOOD was a challenge!

Who knew that as we weathered the trial of losing the use of our office, losing some of our office furniture, equipment, and art, waiting on insurance, for everything to be packed up and stored, for repairs to be made, that we would then have to deal with a global pandemic? SO. MUCH. DANCING!

Here’s the thing though: we gratefully, blessedly have our lives (when so incredibly many have lost theirs), we have each other (#bestteamever), we have you, and we have a vision that just gets stronger: to serve the creative needs of young people who are struggling with trauma and negative circumstances.

This is not only a physical health crisis, but an emotional one. And Art from Ashes is designed to support the emotional and mental health of youth who are dealing with a plethora of challenges… and now a major health scare with very few safe spaces. We are committed to being that safe space for them. Here are some ways we have changed the plot so we can continue to offer a much-needed creative outlet, featuring writing prompts that will inspire expression, connection, and transformation: our signature process for hope and healing.

Virtual Empowerment Prompts

For those youth who have access to the internet, we’ve still been hosting our weekly Phoenix Rising creative writing prompts virtually via Google Hangouts, and we don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. (Adults, we’ve got social media prompts on Facebook and Instagram for you, too!)

Virtual Empowerment Workshops

The safe space we hold for young people, and the connections they build with one another and the facilitators, is something sacred to all of us at AfA. We have worked hard to create a curriculum that can be facilitated virtually in a way that feels authentic and meaningful. For more information on getting our workshops into your facility or school, contact our Director of Programs here.

When Going Virtual Isn’t an Option

In-Person Empowerment Workshops at select facilities

We are SUPER INVESTED in safety, which is one of the hallmarks of our programs; not just mental and emotional safety, but physical. With the proper specified precautions in place, AfA trained facilitators are available to lead our usual in-person, interactive youth workshops. For more information on getting our workshops into your facility or school, contact our Director of Programs here.

Take-Home Writing Kits

We knew that some of our participants may not have access to our virtual Wednesday workshops, and we decided to squash that barrier. When you believe that all problems have solutions, you can begin to solve them. Our solution: Writing Kits mailed or delivered in person.

AfA has created take-home writing kits that contain six workshop prompts on specially designed cards, a journal and pen, copies of poems and a link to the YouTube audio versions, and all the prompt materials we use in our workshops! Each kit costs us more than $25 to make, because we use local vendors and do everything ourselves (NOT made in China 😁).

We are currently offering the same kits to others in the community under a GET ONE/GIVE ONE promotion for a $50 donation, in the hope that individuals will get one for themselves and donate one to a young person. If you’d like to provide them in bulk for youth in schools and agencies, you can donate $500 for 25 kits at $20 each. Donate below! Any amount will be put toward the cost of the kits, just let us know in the comments that’s what your gift is for. More information here…

We are a small nonprofit that has had to redevelop our entire curriculum and find completely new ways of support in order to meet the increased need in the community. Youth and the arts have been hit particularly hard. Your partnership has been and will continue to be extremely important to us. We are hopeful that together we can continue to work with and alongside the young people in our community, even if not in traditional AfA interactive style.

Speaking of dancin’, enjoy this brief video of Director of Programs Sarah Lanzarotta!