“Hidden Heroes” Military Caregivers Benefit from Arts Outreach

NOTE:  This blog recaps our first of twelve monthly workshops at the Hampton VA.  To see a flyer about the workshop series, including directions and contact information, click here.  

On January 17, twelve military caregivers came together for a night of support, socialization, and therapeutic art-making.  Tidewater Arts Outreach was able to present this special workshop, thanks to a “Hidden Heroes” grant awarded in December by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation.

Artist and program facilitator Donna Iona Drozda wrote:  “In our January 17 Arts Aid for Hidden Heroes’ TAO Visual Journaling workshop: Resilience & Reinvention,’  I introduced 12 participants to the meaningful, inward-turning art form of making simple yet profound marks on paper. Visual journaling is dear to my heart. With more than 157 illustrated journals in my archive, I have enlisted the art of visual journaling to clarify my challenges and setbacks. I also use the journal process to express celebrations and the dreams of my art/life.  I appreciate any opportunity to share this highly individualized art form that uses words, images and mementos to express and reflect on life experience. The 12 Hidden Heroes  were alert and the room felt electric…I believe it was because we were having so much fun exploring the four simple tools being offered. In our short albeit fast-paced two hours we dove into creative exercises designed to express, explore and potentially resolve individual challenges while implementing conscious connection to the journal page as a viable tool kit for self-care.”

Hidden Heroes photo recap

Post-program participant surveys revealed, “I enjoyed learning how art can benefit my health and well-being.”  

“I learned alot…from my tree drawing!”

“I enjoyed being able to learn how to “learn how to understand my life and how I can put me first.”

“I enjoyed being able to ‘understand how to separate my feelings.’  

Here is a link to those interested in attending future workshops, which will run monthly on the third Tuesdays, 6-8 pm through November 2017.  Workshops are open and free of charge to caregivers of military veterans.

We are grateful to funding from the Elizabeth Dole Foundation for their program underwriting and Sonja R. Poitier-Hickman, the Caregiver Support Coordinator at the Hampton VA.

Hidden Heroes Fdn thanks for the grant graphic