"The Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation has announced a $2.5 million grant to Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona in support of an expansion of facilities and two of the organization's signature programs.
The grant will enable Free Arts, an organization that helps abused and homeless children build resiliency and learn to trust, to purchase the building in which it currently rents space and conduct a major renovation that creates additional space for onsite programming. The funding also will enable the organization to make its camp and professional artist programs, which have been limited to children living in foster care group homes and homeless shelters, available to children living with foster families. In recognition of the grant, the renovated facility will be named the Bob & Renee Parsons Center for Hope & Healing.
"This generous donation will change the future of Free Arts and we are incredibly grateful," said Free Arts executive director Alicia Sutton Campbell. "The new building is double in size from our previous space and will enable future growth and expansion over the next ten years. Our vision is to create a center where the community can learn about the effects of trauma and how to use the arts to build resilience in children."
"Free Arts has been quietly demonstrating the powerful healing art can have on children — and we think it's time for their story to get a little louder," said Bob Parsons, a Giving Pledge signatory whose foundation has now committed more than $3 million to the organization over the past six years. "Renee and I have no doubt that with added space and resources, Free Arts will have a larger impact on the community and will empower even more children to create a better future for themselves.
Research shows that in order to overcome toxic stress, children need to build resilience.
Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adverse situations. Free Arts programs build resilience by creating a safe and positive environment where children can express themselves. Connecting children with caring adults. Allowing children to learn and practice artistic and life skills. Connecting children with their peers and community.
All Free Arts programs are delivered by volunteer mentors and professional teaching artists. Free Arts believes that anyone can help heal a child. We provide specialized training on brain development and trauma, effective communication with children, and the healing effects of the arts.