Families Giving Back: At-home projects help Free Arts for Abused Children

Free Arts for Abused Kids of Arizona helps ease children's pain via art projects.
Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona helps ease kids’ pain through art projects.

Looking for creative ways to get your family involved in volunteering? Worried you don’t have the time it takes?

Families Giving Back, a nonprofit dedicated to family volunteering, works with other nonprofits across the Valley to create events and easy at-home volunteer projects for families with kids of all ages — from toddlers to teens.

Families Giving Back also works to educate families about the tremendous work Valley charities are doing. This month, we’re spotlighting Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona, and two fun, easy ways your family can help this organization.

Free Arts has helped more than 95,000 children since it began more than 20 years ago. This nonprofit uses the healing power of art to help abused and homeless children build resilience and learn to trust. All the children in Free Arts programs have experienced family trauma, homelessness and/or violence.

Free Arts serves more than 7,000 children annually, providing mentoring, a caring community and an opportunity for kids to learn new skills and express themselves. Can you imagine how many art supplies it takes to ensure that every child who has suffered abuse or homelessness has the opportunity to heal through art?

Families Giving Back, at-home volunteer projects, Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona
Kids paint a mural. Photo courtesy of Families Giving Back.

That’s why Families Giving Back has created two at-home projects that take as little as five to 10 minutes per day. The first project — collage grab bags — assists Free Arts mentors, supplying them with images and words from magazines for collage projects. Cutting out images and words from magazines is a fun thing for families to do together, and it saves the staff at Free Arts a lot of time.

“A collage project can be a simple way for a child to share information about who they are, where they have been, and most importantly, what they would like their future to look like,” says Alicia Sutton, the organization’s executive director. “The words and images that Families Giving Back volunteers prepare for children in Free Arts programs make it easy for the children to share their thoughts and feelings and start envisioning a better future for themselves.”

The second project involves making art-supply bags for children. Families can get creative by decorating these bags and adding personal notes.

“Seeing the decorations and notes helps children in our programs know that there is a community that cares about them and supports them,” Sutton says.

We hope your family will take this month to be creative and volunteer!

Collage grab bags

  • Collect old magazines, catalogs, etc. and cut out images that fit into such categories as animals, nature, people, fashion, sports, food and positive words/letters. Feel free to create new categories.
  • Separate the categories into piles and put each pile into a labeled plastic zipper bag.
  • Put all the bags into a larger bag or container (such as a shoe box) and label it “magazine collage images/words.”

Art-supply bags

  • Decorate a plain paper or plastic bag using markers, stickers, etc.
  • Place a glue stick or Elmer’s glue, straight-edge adult or children’s scissors, paint brushes, watercolor palette and markers (all types) into each bag.
  • Make a card, write a letter or draw a picture to include in each bag.

Deliver collage grab bags or art-supply bags to: Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona, 103 W. Highland Ave., Phoenix. Let them know you’re a Families Giving Back volunteer. For more information, visit freeartsaz.org and familiesgivingback.org.

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