By Emily Drooby
Laughter fills the room at LifeWay as survivors of human trafficking create their own art — it’s a unique form of therapy.
Founded by Sister Joan Dawber, LifeWay provides safe housing to women who have been trafficked and information to the public to spread awareness of this modern-day plague.
“When they come to LifeWay they are experiencing different forms of trauma. There are times when they have a difficulty expressing themselves verbally,” explained Audrienne Boyd, the director of safe housing for LifeWay Network. “So we found that art therapy is another way for them to heal through the process, through the canvas.”
Just like Audrienne explained, LifeWay’s art-expression program helps survivors express themselves.
Marion Kendall is the executive director of LifeWay Network, and was present when the workshop happened.
“Within minutes, you were able to see that the women were in a safe place and they felt that this was an opportunity for them to be their authentic selves without having to tell us who were the observers, what this color meant, what this stroke meant to them,” explained Marion.
Art therapy has been part of the program at LifeWay for a while, but this specific workshop had some help from a familiar face.
Talitha Kum and their Patreon fundraising website. Currents News introduced viewers to them back in early August.
Right before the workshop, producer of the Patreon initiative, Nickey Frankel dropped off about $1,000 worth of donated art supplies to the LifeWay safehouse.
The donation was made possible by artist John Couch, who is a part of the Patreon and also taught the tutorial the survivors followed for this workshop. The supplies was donated by Jerry’s Artarama.
Many of these survivors have endured unimaginable horrors. Some haven’t been removed from dangerous situations for that long. But in this powerful workshop, LifeWay Network employees began to see a real change. A step towards healing.
“Very profound, very powerful,”said Marion. “I also witnessed a survivor who is fresh out of her compelling situation, creating a masterpiece, but was unable to share that with everyone…but the work was so incredible.”
The survivors found the program to be so helpful that LifeWay has decided to continue holding similar workshops in the future.