Guest Columnist

Expressive Arts is a community investment

The Silhouettes shadow dance troupe based in Arvada, Colo., is shown in a power pose. The troupe created a 15-minute video for the 2018 Tanager Place Expressive Arts Gala.
The Silhouettes shadow dance troupe based in Arvada, Colo., is shown in a power pose. The troupe created a 15-minute video for the 2018 Tanager Place Expressive Arts Gala.

As a community volunteer, I have been involved with Tanager Place, an organization that promotes services for children and families.

Many of us are looking for answers on what can be done to help and prevent community trauma, especially given current events in our country. It’s clear our youth need our love and support now more than ever. Tanager Place offers that support. Their innovative approach using evidence-based treatment through programs such as the Expressive Arts help thousands of children in need.

Expressive Arts is a unique program offering children therapy opportunities in arts and music by registered and board-certified therapists. Children and families who seek treatment services from Tanager Place face mental and behavioral health challenges. Statistics share that one in five children can benefit from professional mental health services. These children attend our schools; these children and their families live in our neighborhoods. These children are part of our families.

More than 2,700 therapy sessions were held last year in Expressive Arts; sessions that open communication through imagination and creativity. Art therapy helps our youth safely express and understand their emotions.

The strong community support shown for the Expressive Arts Gala held in February did not go unnoticed. Tanager Place is grateful for contributions from more local businesses than space permits us to list — sponsors such as Matt & Red Rissi, Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust, Raining Rose and Shey Systems. The organization is also grateful to the hundreds who attended the gala as advocates for our community’s children.

Expressive Arts is funded by private donations. And, thanks to everyone’s support, Tanager is able to provide therapy sessions for kids who need it most in the coming year.

I am proud to be a Cedar Rapidian. Proud to say that I’ve lived in all four corners of our city, and proud to say Cedar Rapids is my hometown. Like so many of my classmates, I dreamed of bigger and better things after high school graduation. The grass may seem greener on the other side until you take a closer look at where you stand.

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Cedar Rapids is a vibrant, supportive and stable community and, for that and many more reasons, I’m proud to be putting down our roots and raising our family here. Compared to most, Cedar Rapids is a safe community. We believe in our youth and provide a vast amount of experience for families.

As new parents, it is important to my husband and I to live in a community where children are valued, cherished and given the resources to succeed. Expressive Arts at Tanager Place fulfills that goal and I am so proud to see its amazing programming in Cedar Rapids.

• Amy (Ekland) Worden is a member of the Tanager Place Expressive Arts Gala Committee.

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