My name is Marques T. Phillips and I go to school at Headway Academy. I am 16 years old and will be 17 on November 11th- yup tomorrow is my birthday! My interests are friends, family, video games, and school… Especially social studies and science.

The volunteers at Free Arts have inspired me to want to take my experiences and struggles and use that knowledge to help others.

Headway is a treatment program where teens can get help with issues like depression, anxiety, eating disorders, anger management, and trouble with the law.  I have depression and have been dealing with it for almost 6 years now.  I also have a very low self-esteem.  I sometimes drive myself nuts with it.  Though even with these “disabilities” I still manage to be a happy person.

“After the first session I felt lighter and happier. FreeArts helped me to express my emotions, relieve stress, and deal with my depression and anxiety in a creative way.”


My life before Headway was pretty miserable… I was always very depressed and really anxious to be out in the world. One of the things that was hard for me was not being able to interact well with people. Because of depression and anxiety, my interactions can turn very awkward quickly.

In Free Arts I like to do free hand sketching and I am also a fan of acting. An activity that we did with Free Arts that I really enjoyed was sketching upside down or underneath a chair… It was one of my best drawings ever! We also drew while covering up our drawing hands so that we couldn’t see what we were doing. In preparing for this speech Kat reminded me that this was designed to engage both side of your brain- so that you are more creative and shut off the judgmental voice in your mind. And it worked.

Marques, Esther Callahan, and his mother Kim at the 2013 Art Heals! Breakfast

Marques, Esther Callahan, and his mother Kim at the 2013 Art Heals! Breakfast

Self-Confidence & Appreciation for Life Returns

Free Arts has been a very important experience for me. Working with Free Arts mentors has changed my perspective on how society is… Like Kat and the other volunteers were always really nice to me and it made me more comfortable being around people… I learned to stop being such a critic of my own creative work.

Free Arts helps me with a lot of my therapeutic goals. The free arts volunteers come in and have conversations with me and listen to what I have to say. That helps me with my conversation goals in therapy. The projects we do help me with my self-motivation goals. I criticize myself so much, that when I get something done and I like what I have done, it feels like I’ve accomplished something… And the free arts volunteers support me through this process of making something.

To end, I want to thank you all for listening. One thing that I want people to remember about Free Arts is that, no matter where you are or what you do there will always be someone to support you. That’s one of the most important things I’ve learned from being with Free Arts.

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