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Paul Hillman

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since 12/26/2008

On Friday, November 21, 2008, from 4:30-6:30 PM, Linda Gray and Victoria Ramirez Ortiz held an Open House for their garden sanctuary at Machan Elementary School in Phoenix.

Healing Arts for Children’s Hearts Garden Sanctuary Open House

The W. T. Machan School is located at 2140 E Virginia and is part of the Creighton School District in Phoenix. The Children’s Advocacy Center conducts on-site programs in assessment, early identification, and professional treatment of children who have witnessed, or have been victims of violence and neglect. Often this population is under-served and may not have access to proper therapy because of economic, cultural and language-related barriers.

Linda Gray and Victoria Ramirez are dedicated experts who guide children and the families through the healing process. Grounds for Healing is a unique and innovative program using gardening, the arts, and other creative venues to establish long term goals for establishing confidence with the children. Statistics show that expressive arts therapy is highly effective in helping all crime victims find a sense of achievement. HeartWings is no-cost group counseling program for children and adults, skillfully facilitated to allow for story-telling, support, and education for families. The program is designed for children who have lost family members to homicide. Childcare is provided for a small fee during HeartWings sessions.

The purpose of the garden is to allow children, who have experienced trauma, a place to heal. With help from highly trained staff, volunteers, and non-offending family members, the children have created a real sanctuary.

It is a place of peace, healing, and growth. The little garden has a magic quality about it and when one walks inside, the feeling is of being nurtured and protected. There are shade trees, fruit trees, and places to sit among the vegetables and flowers.

At the Open House, people of all races and backgrounds, gathered for food and simply to be together. People lingered in the garden as the sounds of kids playing soccer in the background added a sense of happiness and community.

It was a wonderful opportunity to connect with culture, nature and creativity on behalf of children in this community.

Through a non-profit organization called Healing Arts for Children's Hearts, Children's Advocacy Center, 1855 E. Northern, Suite 202,Phoenix, AZ 85020, Linda Gray, MA, LPC, is making a difference in a very vulnerable community of inner city children.

The Children’s Advocacy Center sustains outreach programs and sliding fee services for child victims of abuse, trauma and loss and their non-offending family members. The Child Trauma and Grief Recovery Program (CTGRP) provides community outreach to child crime victims in three ways.

Other social service personnel and counselors were on hand to enjoy the day: Isabel Solorzaho of Catholic Family Services and Yolando Ratliff.

Volunteers from ChildHelp were also visiting the garden to enjoy the spirit of this comforting place and learn about the ability of the space to be a safe refuge for healing. Susan Rowland from ChildHelp assisted in writing this review.

This community partnership is supported by Machan School principal, Mr. Eric J. Dueppen

This project was funded in large part by Home Depot

The focus on continuing early intervention and therapy for children cannot be over-stated. The Healing Arts for Children’s Hearts is a program that will grow with love and nurturing by the community and for the children.

Other funders were on hand this day to assist in the future...

Victoria’s family came to enjoy the early evening’s events as well.

This is a wonderful community school that is supported by many!!!!!

The arts abound...

Make a donation for the Children's Advocacy Center: Healing Arts for Children's Hearts and receive an Arizona Tax Credit for the Working Poor:

Linda Gray MA, LPC
Healing Arts for Children's Hearts
Children's Advocacy Center
1855 E. Northern, Suite 202
Phoenix, AZ 85020

Photo narrative provided by judy butzine
Cultural Arts Coalition