Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan Brings Community Art Therapy to South Los Angeles Youth

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“Speak Life,” “Share Life,” and “Take Flight,” are some of the positive messages on a new colorful mural painted by South Los Angeles at-risk middle school and high school students and community artist Moses Ball. The8-week Blue Shield Promise Community Art Therapy program was held incollaboration with the Boys &Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles, Challengers Clubhouse and Wellnest (formerly LosAngeles Child Guidance Clinic). The project helps local youth deal with everydaytrauma they face by using their creativity to help design a mural based on theirhopes and aspirations.

The 8-week Blue Shield Promise Community Art Therapy program was held in collaboration with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles, Challengers Clubhouse and Wellnest (formerly Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic). The project helps local youth deal with everyday trauma they face by using their creativity to help design a mural based on their hopes and aspirations.

Mural by Moses Ball, Art Therapy,

Each week, social workers and behavioral health specialists from Blue Shield Promise and Wellnest joined accomplished artist Ball who encouraged youth aged 11 to 17 to lend their creativity as they participated in the program. Art was used as a tool to help the program participants share their feelings and talk about difficult issues in a safe, nurturing space. As part of the program, a “Promise” theme mural was painted on the 20-foot by 60-foot wall outside the playground of the Boys and Girls Challengers Clubhouse.

The design is a brightly colored blue wall representing the faces of the children and showcasing their dreams about future occupations. For example, a young girl inspired by aviator Bessie Coleman is dressed like a pilot with an image of a plane taking flight behind her. Another shows a young girl rapper inspired by Nipsey Hussle’s music as well as his community work.

Mural by Moses Ball, Art Therapy,

“The vision that inspired the mural is to repair the hurt from the challenges the youth face and in turn foster the dreams that still live inside them,” Ball said.

“It gives me great satisfaction to mentor youth both artistically and in life,” said Ball. “I hope to inspire the next generation to become Los Angeles muralists and beautify the community. With the support of Blue Shield Promise that provided resources and staff, I was able to focus on the artistic instruction and guidance of kids who played a key role in creating the mural.”

“It’s exciting to think that every time I come to the center, the mural gives me a sense of pride  knowing that I helped paint it,” said Brailyn (12 years old), Boys & Girls Clubs Challenger Clubhouse member.  

Themural is part of the Community Art Therapy Program, which includes guidancefrom trained behavioral health professionals. The goal is to help at-risk youthexpress their emotions in an invisible form, and assist them in buildingrelationships with others. This program enables kids who are undergoingphysical, emotional or mental crisis to increase their ability to explore,discover and interpret reality in a safe space.

“BlueShield Promise is committed to investing in the communities where our memberslive to ensure they have every opportunity to have healthy and vibrant lives,”said Dr. Greg Buchert, President and CEO of Blue Shield Promise. “We arethrilled to have the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles and Wellnestjoining our effort to create community programming like the youth art therapythat focuses on addressing the health needs of youth using art and engagement.”

“Thiswas a great program for our youth because it provided them with an opportunitythat they will be able to experience for years to come with the creating of thiscolorful new mural at the Challengers Club,” said Calvin Lyons, President andCEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles. “We’re delighted to workwith Blue Shield Promise and Wellnest who understand the needs of healthycommunities and offer their time and resources to boost children’s self-esteemand confidence through art therapy.”

“Commentingon the power of art, Charlene Dimas-Peinado, President and CEO of Wellnestadded, “We know that art can be used to engage, educate, express powerfulemotions, and develop creative thinking and problem solving that can contributeto their future success. We are honored to be a partner on this program to givethese young people those tools.”

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