If you’re a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle to a young child, you’ve probably done your share of arts and crafts. Activities like drawing, coloring, finger knitting and making homemade slime are just a few fun, educational ways to spend quality time with children.

For the girls we serve at Upbring children’s centers, art is also a powerful tool for coping with childhood trauma. They are girls like Angel, who combined her passion for art and writing to tell a beautiful story of hope and healing.

“They love me because I matter”

My Name is Angel, and I am 16 years old. My art piece, “Metamorphosis,” is a tree that is full of anguish and distrust, pain and suffering represented by the black and gray roots.

The trunk of the tree is when I was not only brought to Krause but started seeing the potential in myself and the hope that my life is not defined by my gray and black roots, my past.

The purple branches are all of the souls at Krause who have been there for me, helping me through my past. My therapist, resident counselors, teachers, all the Krause staff who love me and believe in me, who have given me hope in myself and have taught me that I did not deserve my past.

The red branches are for the love that I have found for myself and others, for life. The love that I feel from others that don’t owe me a thing. They just love me because I matter.

The green and yellow branches represent light, life, my inner beauty that I never knew I had. This hope and knowledge of who I am helps keep me on the right path.

Turquoise and blue shades represent my future, my skill and God-given talent as an artist, my desire to work toward self-reliance with a vocation of helping others.

White throughout the piece in the gray areas, as well as the colorful areas, is goodness, God working within my soul and placing people in my life who lifted me out of the grey. Now that I am free and colorful, they help highlight the good things, the hope that I and they have for my future.

Next stop: Japan!

Angel recently completed her treatment, and she’s living with a relative while she finishes her senior year.

When she’s not painting, Angel enjoys exploring Japanese culture. She’s happiest when she’s reading comic books about her favorite teenage ninja and watching Anime with her best friend.

After graduation, Angel wants to pursue a double major in teaching and Japanese, and then teach English in Japan.

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