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April 8, 2012 / Christie Ray Harrison

Ragamuffin Project: Creative Arts Therapy for Kids

Creative arts allow people to express themselves, tell stories, and connect with the emotions of others. The Ragamuffin Project believes that the creative arts also have a therapeutic application, that creative expression can be an avenue of healing and relief from emotional pain or psychological damage. The Ragamuffin Project consists of accredited arts therapists working with children in hospitals, clinics, schools and other facilities, in cooperation with teachers, parents, doctors, psychologists, social workers and other specialists, to bring emotional healing through creative expression. There are Ragamuffin Project teams all over the world, working with children in Cambodia, Pan Asia, Russia, the UK, Europe and Peru.

Ragamuffin Project

Artist: Toha Hasan

Ragamuffin Project bases much of their philosophy on this quote by Kip Loring: “To be human is to be creative. The Arts form an essential element of our experience. People all over the world tell stories, dance and act, sing and draw. Arts Therapy combines this innate capacity for creative expression with a variety of psychological theoretical models from around the world. Science meets Art to produce an effective therapeutic treatment that is accessible to all.”

Donations to Ragamuffin Project’s work around the world can be given on their website, or on the GlobalGiving site. You can also read a personal account about the experience of one of GlobalGiving’s InTheField Travelers, Jacqueline Lee, at Ragamuffin Project’s arts therapy center in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on her blog, “Jacqueline in the Field.”

April 4, 2012 / Christie Ray Harrison

Musicians on Call: Bringing Joy to the Sick

Musicians on Call, formed in 1999 by Michael Solomon and Vivek Tiwary, is an organization that believes in the healing power of music. MOC’s Bedside Performance Program brings volunteer artists to perform for those in hospitals and healthcare facilities who can’t leave their rooms or are undergoing various medical treatments. Through MOC, patients are able to enjoy live musical performances without having to leave their hospital rooms. In this way, MOC seeks to bring entertainment and joy in what can sometimes be a discouraging environment. The organization screens and trains artists to perform for patients, and sets them up with different healthcare facilities. To date, 275,000 patients and their families have been able to experience the gift of music because of the efforts of Musicians on Call. The non-profit has continued to grow since its founding, and now has branches or local chapters in New York, Nashville, Philadelphia, Miami, and Washington, D.C. Musicians on Call has regularly scheduled performances at a wide range of hospitals and healthcare facilities in cities around the country.

Musicians on Call also maintains a “CD Pharmacy,” complete CD libraries and CD players that hospitals and patients can use for free, and has a program called “Project Playback,” which helps patients record and produce their own melodies. MOC also regularly holds benefit concerts featuring popular artists, volunteer musician spotlight nights, and other events to raise money for their local branches. The video above explains a little bit more about the purpose of MOC and shows the organization in action.

 

March 21, 2012 / Christie Ray Harrison

HopeSake: A Shopping Cart for a Cause

HopeSake

 

 

 

 

 

HopeSake is a website that aims to make a difference around the world by aggregating various products into a shopping cart on their site where people can purchase them. Proceeds from the sale of each product go to support a different cause that is part of a global charity network, and in addition to the money that each charity receives from the purchases, HopeSake donates another 5% from the purchase to a high school they are helping start in Nairobi, Kenya, for teens who otherwise would not be able to receive an education.

HopeSake lives by the words “Every time  you buy, you are giving hope.” The products for sale through the site include everything from purses to hoodies to books to water bottles to, of course, t-shirts. Some of the charities’ whose products are featured on the site include Word Made Flesh, To Write Love on Her Arms, Suti Sana, Musicians on Call, and Mocha Club, among others. To see a full list of the charities HopeSake supports and the products tied to each cause, visit the HopeSake site. Different artists have worked hard designing the various products for the charities featured on HopeSake, and buying through the site is a great way to support both HopeSake and the organization of your choosing.

HopeSake

March 13, 2012 / Christie Ray Harrison

Silent Images: Telling Stories of Hope

Mobilizing professional photographers to serve others. Raising awareness about persecution and poverty around the globe. Giving back to people in need. These are three of the main goals of Silent Images, a non-profit organization based in North Carolina that communicates stories of hope through journalistic photography, videography, and writing. The organization strives to be a “voice for the voiceless around the world.” Silent Images’ team of photographers, videographers, and designers makes it their goal to tell stories that portray the hope and beauty that exists in oppressed and persecuted communities worldwide.

David Johnson, the founder and president of Silent Images, travels around the country speaking at churches, schools, and community groups to raise awareness about poverty and conflict in other areas of the world where he has traveled and taken pictures. He has documented the lives of the oppressed in countries such as Darfur, Sudan, Uganda, South Africa, China, Cambodia and others, and shares the images with people in the U.S. to educate and raise awareness. David has two books, Voices of Sudan and Voice of Beauty, which feature his images of women and girls in developing countries. He believes that their beauty and strength shows through in moments of oppression and persecution, and his images strive to portray their dignity in these moments. All profits from the books go to provide women and children in Africa with microloans and education.

To keep up with Silent Images’ work, you can read the Silent Images Blog and follow the organization on Twitter. Videos produced by Silent Images can be viewed on their YouTube channel. The organization’s video below features some of its photography:

February 29, 2012 / Christie Ray Harrison

Artists4Freedom: Bringing Justice with Music

Artists4Freedom, founded in 2011 and part of Global Freedom Concerts (GFC), is an organization that believes music can change the world for the better. As a group, they are artists, musicians, and performers who are passionate about bringing freedom to the 1.2 million+ children who are trafficked all over the world each year into modern day slavery.

Every minute, 2 children are sold into forced labor, prostitution, and/or organ harvesting. (UN) In the United States alone, over 100,000 children are forcefully engaged in prostitution or pornography each year. (Love146) Artists4Freedom wants to raise awareness about this form of injustice and bring an end to it. A list of artists and musicians committed to their cause can be found on their Facebook page.

The group also Tweets and posts to Facebook regularly about resources, news, videos and articles related to human trafficking. Global Freedom Concerts is organizing 5 major concerts in 5 continents that will raise awareness about human trafficking and motivate people to get involved in bringing change, bringing freedom to those trapped in modern day slavery.

February 22, 2012 / Christie Ray Harrison

Street Child Project: Making a Difference in Uganda with Art

Street Child Project

The Street Child Project is an organization whose vision, in their own words, is “to see the street children of Uganda transformed and empowered to become agents of social change in their communities.” Art is the means of achieving this transformation. Founded in December 2008, Street Child Project is focused on the children of Uganda. It seeks to empower them by encouraging creative expression, providing them with a stable environment, and giving them access to education and new skills that will help them each child reach his or her full potential. One of the main ways Street Child Project does this is through their boys centre, a safe home where former street children are cared for, encouraged, supported, and provided with opportunities to be creative. The organization recently started the 12 Campaign, a movement that allows people to be involved in the mission of Street Child Project by contributing $12 per month, money that goes towards the cost of their NewstART Centre, food and clean water, staff salaries, medical care, and other small expenses. People who want to be directly involved with Street Child Project’s work in Uganda can also opt to financially support a child with a $30 donation each month. Sponsoring a child pays for his education – tuition, books, expenses, uniforms, school lunches, etc. Sponsors receive information, letters, and photos from children they sponsor so that they can be connected to the children’s lives in Uganda.

February 13, 2012 / Christie Ray Harrison

Quote for Today

Maya Angelou quote

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