Last night, I let my children dress me for a date night and took my first Uber. The last time we had been to The Triple Door, a beautiful dinner theater style venue in downtown Seattle, was about 10 years ago! We applauded the musician leaving the stage and took our first sips of our fancy cocktails as our old friend Curtis Romjue took the stage to welcome everyone. "Tonight we are feasting and enjoying the good life," he said. "And it is our desire to share this good life with as many as we can." He means it. Later on he described how 15 years ago he first learned about human trafficking (especially the sexual slavery of children around the world) and how that knowledge changed his life. Brendan and I were just getting to know Curtis and his housemates (and Grace who would later marry him) back then, and we have been firsthand witnesses to the earnestness of his commitment to doing all he can to make a difference. (I know about International Justice Mission because of him.) The same can be said for Grace, and their partnership has done much good.
Last night, we were celebrating and being challenged to support a wonderful organization founded by the Romjues: First Aid Arts. Take two minutes to watch the video on their front page. The video is a great way to get to know what they are about. The quick version is this: First Aid Arts trains therapists to use art (visual, music, dance) to help trauma survivors process the things that have happened and develop tools for coping (and, I hope, for sharing and contributing to change for others!).
A few things struck me last night.
1. First Aid Arts has an impressive commitment to doing things RIGHT. They have an amazing advisory board and leadership team that has the education and research to back up the trainings they do. Sometimes, passion in an organization is not equal to skill and planning. I was very pleased to see that this is not the case for First Aid Arts.
2. I have been grasping at my own version of art therapy my whole life. If I need it and it helps me, then I know it can help those who have been through much more terror. I want to help provide healing, and this is a tangible way!
3. The cross-cultural, non-lingual communication available through art can help to heal and change a the trauma-effected brain. There is a reason that art and music move and inspire us the way that they do. To harness that effect for healing and change increases my own love and respect for art. It's not just for rich people in museums or preschool projects!
Recently I sat with a friend who has been through a tragic loss. As I listened to her and reflected on loss in my own life, I said to her: "Every loss brings so much grief, but there is an opposite side to the coin. We are given empathy and grace for ourselves and others that we may not have ever accessed otherwise." THAT is why I want to support First Aid Arts. People need medical care, food, and safety. But what happens next? Who is helping and how are they helping survivors to process (and use!) what they have been through to redeem circumstances and help even more people? Talk therapy has been very instrumental in my life, but I am a privileged white girl with access to a trained counselor who speaks my language! First Aid Arts is a way for me to share the gift of therapy with those who need it.
DONATE HERE and plaster your social media! It's a good plan! Let's raise $1000!!! Totally doable, friends <3