The benefits of art therapy for all children. June 5, 2017 - Mexico
Marion watches a group of pequeños as they create beautiful art
The art therapy program at NPH Mexico began in Miacatlán over 15 years ago, under the vision and dedication of Marion Tavella, the art therapist and director of the program.
Originally from Germany, Marion first worked with NPH as a volunteer, but has since become a valued employee providing art therapy to a wide array of children throughout the home in Miacatlán. Marion specializes in using art as a way for the pequeños to express their feelings, to become more focused in school and to work productively with their peers in a group setting.
Over the years Marion has been able to witness progress among many of the pequeños she has worked with, even those who struggle from difficult upbringings and challenging past and present familial relationships. She noted that often when children first are welcomed into the NPH family, they are unable to express their emotions verbally. They arrive slightly timid and have trepidation toward speaking about their fears, concerns or problems.
Creating art provides these children with a sense of freedom and the ability to produce anything they like without strict rules or boundaries. Creating without restrictions enables these pequeños to fully embrace the power of creativity and express their true emotions without the fear of judgement. Additionally, the ability to work in groups is a great way to integrate children into the NPH lifestyle. It allows students to form a sense of community and friendship, enhancing their capability of thinking critically and working with others to solve more complex problems.
Frantz,* a ten-year-old boy now living in Miacatlán, had a difficult time growing up with a lack of support, and working at a very young age. However, he has truly benefited from the art therapy he receives from Marion. He comes to art therapy every Thursday and has created various works of art, from masks to detailed illustrations of nature. Frantz commented, “I feel at peace when I’m creating my art. In school there is a lot of stress, but here I can do what I want without any pressure."
Mireya* joined the NPH family at a young age and remembers little about her life before arriving at the NPH home, but she is thankful to be part of the art therapy program to help ease some of the stress she currently experiences. “It helps me forget about some of my worries throughout the day. It is very calming. I feel at peace when I am creating my art”, said Mireya. She works with Marion three times a week for two hours and has created mosaic picture frames, necklaces and earrings.
The art therapy program at NPH Mexico is going strong and making a lasting impact on the home in Miacatlán and all the pequeños involved. The mosaic tiles lining the walls of the small buildings used to house the therapies are as colorful as the beautiful artwork inside, created by the children. With time, perseverance and patience, art is helping to create generations and generations of wonderful, expressive and creative children who are ready to fill in the tiles of their own mosaic of life.
*Names changed for privacy purposes.
Aaron Ruder Communication Officer
You may be only one person in the world, but you may be all the world to one child.
—Fr. William Wasson