Cicely was a confused, bitter, and disruptive teenager who had been put out of three schools before coming to ArtsTech.
In partnership with the Kansas City Public Schools, ArtsTech served 100+ young people with similar issues as Cicely’s this past school year. As part of Cicely’s, and most other students’, educational and mental health action plan, she was enrolled in our art therapy classes as a strategy to understand her mental health issues, while also developing her artistic and social skills.
Changing inappropriate behaviors was challenging and slow. Cicely used vile language, alienated her peers, and kept the “drama” at home and school going continually. The one stable constant in Cicely’s life was art. While school and her personal life were a series of traumas and conflict, Cicely was at peace doing her artwork, working with the art teacher, which became her place of solace. Cicely finished the school on a high note. She was promoted to the 9th grade, was able to earn high school credit, and earned the right to return to her traditional home school (the original school a student attends and is dismissed from). Cicely took advantage of her opportunities and ended up making very good choices.
Even though Cicely and many of her classmates earned the right to return to their home school, reducing traumas is an ongoing effort. ArtsTech has a transition coordinator who works with each student to make sure they have their own advocate back at their home school, advises on effective strategies and classes that are most beneficial, and proactively addresses mental health concerns. Mental health and academic success can be very fleeting for our young people. Supportive adults, family, and the larger community is a must for our youth to become productive citizens.
Art is healing. Art is therapeutic. Art soothes the body, soul, and mind. Over the past nine months, art helped Cicely achieve significant academic and mental health improvement. Art also helped 40 other students find peace and confidence and unleashed their creativity and imagination. Art makes a positive difference in troubled young people’s lives.
Health Forward Blog aims to discuss health and health policy issues that impact the uninsured and underserved in our service area. To submit a blog, please contact Health Forward Communications Officer Jennifer Sykes, at email@example.com.