Creative Coping Skills

Thanks to a grant from the W.B. and Candace Thoman Foundation, all of our students can experience the benefits of the arts!

   Most of Highfields’ students have suffered from trauma and don’t know how to cope in a positive way.

   “Art is a safe way to process trauma, relax, and decompress, especially for young men with anger issues,” said Chris Robinson, Residential Director at Highfields.

   The W.B. and Candace Thoman Foundation have supported Highfields since 2003, realizing the importance of arts education to at-risk youth. Thanks to a generous grant, we have expanded our art program with Schuler Arts Studio by adding four additional days of art class on campus. Now all of the students can participate and receive the benefits of creating art, like Jacob.

   Jacob has experienced trauma in his past and has mental health challenges. When he feels overwhelmed, he likes to draw Anime to calm down.

   “Drawing helps me relieve stress and forget about my problems for a while,” he said.

   Jacob attended the art workshops on campus. His favorite activity was when they sketched unique shapes and designs around a letter. 

   Nobel Schuler, owner of Schuler Arts Studio, encouraged the students to be mindful of the designs they were drawing. In the end, the students’ letters spelled out the word “Mindfulness” and "Perseverance" and reflected on what their designs meant.

   The goal of the activities is to build relational skills, vocational skills, and a stronger sense of identity. These traits lead to engaged and positive youth in the community.

   “It’s a great coping skill for me,” said Jacob. “I would like to do graphic design or something similar in the future.”

The finished design: Mindfulness and Perseverance.

Highfields invests in extracurricular activities like the art workshop, music studio, and vocational programs to help students develop coping skills that can be used and sustained in the student’s own community.

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