Nonprofit helping women veterans through art in Peoria
PEORIA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — Our veterans put their lives on hold to serve our country. It’s an honor that many times comes with a cost. They can experience physical, emotional and mental health challenges when they leave the military. A Valley nonprofit is using art to help women veterans. “Maybe they can’t express themselves in words, but they use the art to express themselves,” said Dana Ramsey.
Ramsey is an Army veteran and one of the founders of Heal Her Art, a nonprofit aimed at helping women veterans escape their pain and struggles with a stroke of a brush.” “Some may have experienced war and some may not, but in general, we all face trauma in some capacity,” said Ramsey.
Ramsey is also the instructor for the free sessions offered at the VA in Prescott and American Legion Post 1 in downtown Phoenix about two to three times a month. She and Marge Christianson started the program five years ago. “We have some veterans that have suffered sexual trauma in the military, some as youth growing up. Many of them are single parents and so in all cases, what they’re looking for is for something to take their mind off the circumstances that they’re in,” said Christianson.
PTSD, divorce, unemployment, grief or loneliness are some of the other struggles the women are painting away. “I think that their artwork, as they’re working on it, gives them a chance to explore some of the emotions they’re going through,” said Christianson.
With time, the healing begins. “As the class evolves, and we talk about how everyone is interpreting instruction differently, then they become a little bit more accepting of themselves and willing to share a part of themselves with others,” said Ramsey. If female veterans would like to participate in a session, they can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The artwork of some of the veterans is on display at an exhibit at the Rio Vista Recreation Center in Peoria through Veterans Day on Saturday. People can vote on their favorite piece, that has been professionally framed. Some of the artwork is also for sale.
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