Art is the lifeblood of healing.
At Emerson, a Title I school with a strong culture of belonging, creativity, and resilience, we know that art therapy helps our kids process and thrive within our learning community.
Our School Site Council strongly believes that this role is crucial to the larger goals we have for our kids' emotional and academic wellbeing, particularly our students of color and those from low-income backgrounds. Our PTA is raising funds to support our School Site Council in funding this important staff position.
This campaign is being UPDATED because BLACK LIVES MATTER!
Our families are hurting. We need healing now.
The majority of our school's students identify as Black. Our entire Emerson family mourns together as we witness senseless brutality against our brothers and sisters here in the Bay Area and across the country. How do we show up for our children? How do we give them opportunities to see our love for them during a pandemic? How do we give them the opportunity to expess their emotions?
Our multi-racial, multi-generational PTA is hosting a Healing Together Apart opportunity on the sidewalk outside our school. We will have a community alter, chalk, and grafitti art supplies, bought from a local art supply store. Because ART HEALS.
When school starts up again in the fall, the pain will not be gone. Our children will still need art, therapy, and our love. We are resilient. Our families have held this pain for over 400 years. We will move forward as a community and support our kids with love whether or not meet our financial goal to support our Art Therapist.
If you have the means to show your love with financial support for this campaign, any amount would be greatly appreciated.
- June 4, 2020
And now back to our original campaign text:
When my firstborn started Kindergarten at Emerson, we were less than 1 year in as a family struggling to function with the complicated grief of unexpected death in our extended family.
Getting connected with Rose was one of the best things to happen during that time. Rose is incredibly empathetic and compassionate, and I felt genuinely understood and supported as a parent from our first meeting.
Knowing that she was on campus with my child’s teachers and peers and that he was getting designated safe emotional space with her weekly has been immensely peace giving. When he started coming home from school and talking about how much he enjoyed his time with her, and how safe he felt, I wanted to continue his time with her into the next year and beyond.
She has been essential to our family in this time of healing and growth, and I recommend her with my whole heart to anyone even wondering about art therapy for their children. Healing fear and loss is heavy work, and we are so grateful she is a part of Emerson. - Stephanie, Emerson parent
At Emerson Elementary, we have experienced the power of art therapy to help kids process trauma. We are committed to raising the funds necessary to keep our school Art Therapist next year. With this COVID-19 global pandemic and associated school closure, we anticipate a greater need than ever for art therapy services, which we offer for free to all students and even families.
Art Therapy supports our vision to "embrace and nurture the whole child" at Emerson.
Our school is a global majority, district-run, public school in North Oakland where 75% of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch, 20% are English Language Learners, and 20% have special needs. We are known for our particularly strong programs for students with autism.
Our visionary principal has worked hard to create a welcoming and supportive culture and climate for ALL students at our school. She has fostered a strong collaborative team of teachers and support staff who developed and share our school's vision. Our PTA works holistically with our school to support unity, equity, and community.
Our art therapist helps students and families develop positive coping skills to handle issues around divorce, fear, crisis, grief, and showing up to school with a "growth mindset" - ready and excited to learn. By supporting our students in need, we support our teachers and all students.
Despite district-wide budget cuts, maintaining our Art Therapist remains a top priority for our school. We have witnessed first-hand the life-changing results of her work with so many of our students who have been impacted by trauma.
These success stories will have lifelong ripple effects in so many positive ways.
Our PTA is committed to matching our school site funds, up to 50:50, to support the continuation of our amazing Art Therapist as a valuable member of our support team at Emerson. Without the ability to do in-person fundraisers due to social distancing, however, this is going to be difficult. Our families, in general, do not have the funds to support this kind of fundraiser. And so we look to the broader community for support.
In one-on-one or small group sessions, our art therapist gives crucial support to the Emerson school community with compassion, gentleness, and creativity. It's hard to imagine how we would manage without her help for our students in crisis, when they are at their angriest or saddest. - Jennifer, Emerson Librarian
If you believe in the power of art to change lives, if you believe in lending a helping hand to students experiencing trauma, if you believe in the ability of a small, scrappy, low-income public school to meet the needs of its students with a little help and a lot of love, please consider donating to our campaign today.