Hello.  My name is Tia. I am an 18 year old senior in high school. When I came to Headway Academy and Emotional Services in May of 2011, I was a pitiful sight. I had been in and out of the hospital five times for emotional crises. I have had a therapist and psychiatrist since 5th grade. When I was younger, I was sexually abused.

After the first two weeks in my junior year of school, I stopped attending. This was due to a severe social anxiety that had been building for years and finally reached the tipping point. It may have also had something to do with my dramatically decreasing emotional state. I was practically a recluse for the whole year before I came to Headway. 

Abbie 13


“I am forever grateful to Free Arts for reigniting my love of art. I think, and hope, that other children get to experience everything I have with Free Arts.”



Important Relationships & Art Appreciation

Headway is where I got involved with Free Arts and Free Arts has been an amazing experience. It has not only helped me rediscover my interests in art, but also helped me to become comfortable doing art and showing it to others. I have always been drawn to art, but for the most part I did not have the resources or space to complete art projects. Now I have painted on my own time and done art with the Free Arts mentors. 

Not only has my interest in art been once again acknowledged, I have also gotten to know the Free Arts mentors that come each week. I have become not only comfortable, but truly close with them. They are mentors and friends. I feel like I can talk to them about anything. I am really close to all the volunteers, and I am hoping to get closer to the new ones. It is very important to me to have these relationships. I do not have many other people to support me and my art. Most of the other people around me think that art is just a silly pass-time, and that I am being silly. It is important for me to have people who take me, and my art, seriously. 

I think that Free Arts is an amazing program. It has helped me and changed my life, and I have witnessed it do the same for my peers. It is a great way for me to connect with my peers when we all work on a project together. Some of them struggle with projects, others dive right in, but almost everyone creates something every time. I don’t know what my day treatment or my life would look like without my involvement in Free Arts.

There are many reasons why Free Arts is great. One reason is that I know there are other kids like me who do not have the resources or support they need to create art. There are also kids who have trouble expressing themselves, and Free Arts teaches them the way to do that. 

Finally, Free Arts is great because it is made almost entirely of volunteers. It is good to know that they choose to spend their time with us every week. It is good to know that someone thinks we are worth their time, and that they want to share their passion with us. 

I know that this program has a deeply profound effect on all those involved. I like to think it is a necessary part of our community. I believe that art is an important part of life, and whether or not someone loves art, it is still important to experience it. Free Arts helps bring art to those who may not have had the opportunity to make it before.

I am forever grateful to Free Arts for reigniting my love of art. I think, and hope, that other children get to experience everything I have with Free Arts.


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